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Postgame notes: “Those guys don’t come around easily”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Mar 18, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Michael Pineda

Going to have to rain on this parade in just a few paragraphs, but for now, think about the basics of what happened today.

The Yankees beat the Red Sox by seven runs. They had a total of 14 hits, and all but one came from a guy who seems on track to break camp on the big league roster. Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano combined for six RBIs, and every starter reached base at least once. Ichiro Suzuki stepped into the lineup because of what seems to be a minor injury, and he was productive as the No. 9 hitter. Dave Robertson pitched out of a jam with back-to-back strikeouts.

All things considered, this was an awfully good day. And it started with Michael Pineda going 4.1 scoreless with five strikeouts and no walks.

“If he’s healthy, if he’s the guy we traded for a couple of years ago, he’s a top of the rotation starter,” Teixeira said. “And those guys don’t come around easily. You got to really develop those kind of guys. He’s still young and he still has a bright future if he’s healthy.”

Michael PinedaNow for the rain…

It’s March 18. The Red Sox brought a lineup that was awfully light on big league regulars. The game did absolutely nothing to close the gap between a team that won the World Series last year and a team that didn’t even make the playoffs. But like so much about Pineda’s return from shoulder surgery, it was at the very least a positive step.

“He was good, really good,” Joe Girardi said. “Slider was good again. His changeup was good. He used his fastball. His pitch count, he kept it down. Threw a lot of strikes. When he missed, he was down. Pretty good. … I think he’s getting stronger when he goes out. I think his command was better today; a lot better than the other day. Another good step for him.”

Pineda threw 60 pitches, 45 for strikes. His fastball topped out at 94 mph (mostly around 91 mph based on what I saw on television). All five of his strikeouts came on swing-and-miss sliders. He faced four batters with a runner in scoring position, and three of those at-bats ended with strikeouts. The other was a popup. Francisco Cervelli said Pineda’s fastball had good cutting action, his changeup was in the zone, and he was able to add and subtract from his slider when necessary.

Yes, it’s still mid-March. And no, this wasn’t the Red Sox regular lineup. But Pineda looked awfully good again. Hard to make too much of it, but it’s impossible to ignore it completely.

“Last year, when I started doing my rehab assignment, I felt pretty good,” Pineda said. “I threw the ball good. Right now, this is spring training. I’m with the team. There’s better adrenaline. It’s more exciting to see the major-league guys here. It’s making me happy. … I feel like the same Michael Pineda. I have the same mechanics; my mechanics are now a little better. Everything is good.”

Red Sox Yankees Spring Baseball· If you didn’t see it in the game post, the Yankees made 12 cuts today. All were pretty inevitable. Ramon Flores was the only one on the 40-man, and he was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The others were C Francisco Arcia, OF Tyler Austin, RHP Bruce Billings, RHP Robert Coello, RHP Brian Gordon INF Corban Joseph, RHP Mark Montgomery, C Pete O’Brien, INF Jose Pirela, OF Mason Williams and RHP Chase Whitley.

· Weirdest moment of the day: just as the bottom of the third inning was getting started, the game was delayed seven minutes because of a swarm of bees in left field. Teixeira came out of the Yankees dugout with two bottles of honey, as if suggesting the grounds crew set some sort of cartoon-style trap. “I’m a big peanut butter and honey guy, love it, so I always know where the honey is,” Teixeira said. “What I thought was if you could just do a line of honey out to the parking lot, the bees would maybe follow it and leave us alone.”

· Immediately after the delay, Cervelli tripled to left-center. It was part of a two-hit day that continues his red-hot spring. Cervelli is hitting .500. “I think the more I play, I feel better,” Cervelli said. “They’ll decide what they want to do. I just come here every day to play. I show up, I get my bat, I get my equipment and that’s it.”

· Pineda has been terrific, but Girardi made it clear that he’s not ready to name a fifth starter just yet. “The other guys are throwing pretty well too,” Girardi said. “We’ve got to figure out what’s best for our team as a whole. We’ll sort that out as we move forward here, but I’m sure we’ll start having a lot of discussions when we get some home games here and talk about how everyone fits.”

· A good day for a rotation discussion? How about the upcoming Monday off day? David Phelps will starts on Thursday, Pineda will pitch on Sunday, and it seems likely Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno will pitch some sort of long relief in there somewhere. Girardi said he’d like to give guys who don’t win the rotation spot a chance to work out of the bullpen at least once this spring, so he’d like to make a decision before the team leaves for Houston. “Obviously the sooner you do it, the easier it is to prepare everyone for what they’re going to do,” Girardi said.

Jorge Posada, Kevin Long, Alfonso Soriano· Get ready for some sort of big league appearance in minor league camp on that off day. Girardi hinted that someone will pitch at the complex that day. Based on the current rotation, I’d guess Ivan Nova might be the one.

· Box score notes: Brett Gardner went 3-for-4 at the top of the order. Soriano, Cervelli and Brian Roberts also had multi-hit games with two apiece. … Zelous Wheeler was the only Yankees player not projected as part of the big league roster who got a hit. Wheeler doubled. … Dave Robertson had runners at the corners with one out in the fifth inning and got out of it with back-to-back strikeouts of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Jonny Gomes. Both went down swinging. … Scoreless inning apiece for Shawn Kelley, Fred Lewis and Matt Daley.

· Travel squad to Orlando tomorrow:
Wasn’t posted before I posted the pregame notes
Pitchers: Dellin Betances, Danny Burawa, Cesar Cabral, Preston Claiborne, Shane Greene, Jim Miller, Ivan Nova, Yoshinori Tateyama
Catcher: Jose Gil, Brian McCann, John Ryan Murphy, Austin Romine
Infielders: Dean Anna, Derek Jeter, Kelly Johnson, Eduardo Nunez, Brian Roberts, Yangervis Solarte, Zelous Wheeler
Outfielders: Zoilo Almonte, Carlos Beltran, Adonis Garcia, Brett Gardner, Antoan Richardson, Alfonso Soriano

· Final word goes to Teixeira: “Good sign for our team. We swung the bats really well today. A lot of good at-bats, swinging at good pitches, and that’s what we do. When we have out full lineup together — we had almost our full lineup today — we grind at-bats, we wear pitchers down, we make them throw a lot of pitches, and we score runs. And that’s what we did today.”

Associated Press photos





29 Responses to “Postgame notes: “Those guys don’t come around easily””

  1. Against All Odds March 18th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Ok ….I look exactly like Thor so I can be him. Sorry against


    What??? just like that???

    Alright I’ll be Cap


    *whispers I wanted to be Captain America after I realized I chose Thor*

  2. bigdan22 March 18th, 2014 at 6:33 pm


    “All 92s aren’t created equal and the hitters this spring certainly haven’t been hitting Pineda’s so far……he’s really throwing downhill and everything is down…..he can create a great line as y’all as he is…..of he’s drivin the ball down in the zone it’s gonna be hard to hit even at 91/92?

    Two points. Pineda really hasn’t faced a true ML lineup yet. And today Bradley turned around a 92 on the inside half into the gap. The other double, I believe by a right-hander, was also driven into the gap off a FB but I’m not sure of the velocity. In Pineda’s last start they didn’t hit his FB because he didn’t throw it over the plate. He’s getting by right now almost exclusively on his slider. Which could work out for him so long as he keeps his FB away from the middle of the plate. But I still need to see him face better hitters.

  3. bigdan22 March 18th, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Pineda’s FB velocity as reported by Yes today:








  4. Pat M. March 18th, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    0 ( Zero ) runs thus far for the spring, but it’s still 0 runs.

  5. bigdan22 March 18th, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I think I saw where Flores was optioned to AAA. That may not be dispositive now, but a couple days ago I surmised Flores, based on his ST performance and Heathcott’s injury, may start in AAA. I don’t believe this was the plan before ST. His performance in Trenton last year was not exceptional.

    But he’s looked great facing several major league pitchers in ST. Maybe the Yanks will fast-track him. But that begs the question. With their off season OF lock-out, a fast track to where?

  6. blake March 18th, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    He’s not getting by exclusively with his slider…… He’s getting ahead with fastballs and then using the slider to get the out. People forget that one of the reasons Pineda was so good was because of the command and control he had……sure 97 helps but the slider seems just as lethal and if he keeps pounding the bottom of the strike some and getting ahead of hitters so he can throw that slider then he will be ok.

    I don’t think it’s out of the question either that you’ll see some 95s and 96s either as the weather gets warmer and he builds arm strength. ….

  7. bigdan22 March 18th, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    “He’s not getting by exclusively with his slider…… He’s getting ahead with fastballs and then using the slider to get the out. People forget that one of the reasons Pineda was so good was because of the command and control he had……sure 97 helps but the slider seems just as lethal and if he keeps pounding the bottom of the strike some and getting ahead of hitters so he can throw that slider then he will be ok.”


    If I have time, I’ll go back and look at the tape tonight, but I think only 1 or 2 of his 13 outs came off his fastball. All his strike outs came off his slider. And all four hits came off his FB. And we still haven’t seen him throw that 91 heater to Bautista yet. I’m not sure he’d foul it off.

  8. blake March 18th, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    He’s not just only throwing sliders though…..he’s getting outs with the slider….that’s his out pitch. He’s a really good pitch…..

  9. bigdan22 March 18th, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    “He’s not just only throwing sliders though…..he’s getting outs with the slider….that’s his out pitch. He’s a really good pitch”


    It’s a fabulous pitch. He can throw for called strikes early in the count which stays in the mind of the hitter when he has two strikes and prevents him from taking the slider off the plate resulting in swing and miss Ks. It’s so good, he may survive as a two pitch pitcher so long as he keeps the fb away from the middle of the plate. But I’ll reserve final judgment until I see him against better comp.

  10. Jerkface March 18th, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    He’s not just only throwing sliders though…..he’s getting outs with the slider….that’s his out pitch. He’s a really good pitch…..

    Its a really really good pitch, but I can see the point being made where Pineda is basically shredding minor league lineups with his plus pitch rather than trying to get guys out with fastballs or a change up. I think he has faced the worst quality of opposition than any of our starters so far besides maybe Adam Warren.

    You can really see the power of his slider though, these AAAA guys are no match for it at all.

  11. blake March 18th, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Ask Girardi if Pineda is playing with a cutter or if he just is throwing some fastballs that cut? Also I’m curious if some of those 87s and 88s today were actually change ups

  12. blake March 18th, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Yea I get the point….but hes gonna use that slider….it’s his best weapon

  13. pete2 March 18th, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    1/2 of his FB were under 91 per the Yes summary. Guys coming off labrum surgery usually take an inning or so to ramp up the FB velo so I suspect some of his lower readings came in the first inning when YES was not showing his velocity.

    His slider is really a weapon and his command of the FB seemed better today. He used the slider to get ahead on the count and sometimes threw it as many as 3 pitches in a row. Good day for him, much better than the last start

    Still need to see him against a decent lineup.

  14. Hankflorida March 18th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Once Ichiro is gone, a 4 of Ells, Gardy, Beltran and ZA can rotate, to give Beltran days off. (Probably 2015).

    Ac1, by 2015 if this experiment of playing two table setters in the outfield, Ellsbury and Gardener, does not work, the Yankees will go back to the formula of having two power bats in the outfield. Right now, you have two outfielders who can turn their walks into doubles, and ground balls to the outfield can score them. This is a different style of play then waiting for the long bomb to put runs on the board.

  15. bigdan22 March 18th, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    I have a hard time distinguishing Pineda’s CU. I think one of his 88s might have been. The other two 88s were thrown to righties and one with 3-2 count so I have a hard time believing it’s a change. And why would Pineda throw an 88 mph CU after 91 FB? I hope his CU is a little better than that assuming he actually has one.

  16. MTU March 18th, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Pineda has a CU.

    So to say that he is a two trick pony is just not correct.

    Look at the very 1st photo of the post.

    Unless I miss my guess I’d say that is a circle change grip.


  17. MTU March 18th, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Pineda’s velo will increase the more he throws.

  18. Jerkface March 18th, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Pineda has a CU.

    So to say that he is a two trick pony is just not correct.

    He has to be able to use it in a game before he is more than a 2 trick pony. And if its really that 87-88 pitch he has been throwing it actually isn’t much of a change up at all. Its a bad fastball.

    His old change up at 87 worked because he was throwing 97. Me thinks he may need to take some speed off whatever he is throwing now to get more distance between it and the FB.

  19. blake March 18th, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Yea he got one bad swing on what I think was an 88 mph CU today but unless he really increases his fastball velo he’s gonna need to choke that sucker off more and get more separation than that… needs to be 82 or so if his FB is 92. Maybe tanaka can teach him a split!

  20. MTU March 18th, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    A better separation would certainly help. I’m hoping the velo will increase.

    If not, maybe he should consider Mr. Splitty ?

    There are plenty of good teachers available.


  21. pete2 March 18th, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    One thing I am wondering about is how much a toll throwing the slider takes on a pitchers arm. In 2011 Pineda threw the slider about 32% of the time, it looks like he is throwing it more often now. Maybe 50%?

    He used to throw the FB almost 60% of the time, and today it was probably 40% if that FB count by Yes is correct. Maybe less if some of them were cutters.

    Its probably better for him long term if he gets to the point where he relies on the slider less and the FB more.

  22. Durant1985 March 18th, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Where’s all the velocity freaks @? Pineda looked awesome today. Whether his velo returns or not, he is on track to return to being that dominant pitcher he was in Seattle. Proud of the kid.

  23. austinmac March 18th, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I am encouraged by the increase in velocity. That is hopeful for further increases.

    As Cone pointed out today, his CU is too close to his FB to be optimal.

  24. Revenge of Stoneburner March 18th, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    bigdan22 March 18th, 2014 at 6:41 pm
    I think I saw where Flores was optioned to AAA.


    But Bryan Mitchell was option to AAA too I believe – and he is not necessarily starting there – I thought it was best not to read too much into these options just yet

  25. j9d March 18th, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Just watched game on archive and saw Tex waiving his bottles of honey to help with the huge
    bee swarm. And he did so with much self assurance, as if certain he had the solution. The field crew ignored him and solved the problem. No words. It was very funny.

  26. Revenge of Stoneburner March 18th, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    But I still need to see him face better hitters.


    Bogaerts was in the lineup, pretty good there in the sense that he is young with dynamic bat speed.

  27. blake March 18th, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Reggie acting like he didn’t have a long swing…..Reggie swung out of his shoes like every time

  28. trisha - true pinstriped blue March 18th, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    “But I still need to see him face better hitters.”

    See next thread.

  29. Tar March 23rd, 2014 at 10:39 am

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