The Blue Jays try to guarantee a series win tonight against the Yankees as Marco Estrada makes his first start of the season against Michael Pineda. The Jays faced Pineda earlier this season in the second game of the year and the righty allowed two runs in six innings in a New York victory. Pineda has been extremely good for the Yankees to start the season and they certainly have needed him in their ragtag rotation. The Dominican has a 25.2% K-rate and a minuscule 1.6% BB-rate which is the result of only two walks all year! Despite a .344 BABIP, Pineda still has a 3.73 ERA and a more representative 2.21 FIP. His only problem has been going deep into games as he's averaging just over six innings which should honestly be higher considering how filthy he's been.
A likely reason for his success this year may be his increased usage of the changeup which has transformed him from a fastball-slider fireballer to a more diversified starter who can still blow the ball by you when he needs to. The changeup has kept hitters from just guessing fastball and being able to easily keep up with it. As we all know, a mid-90's fastball can still be turned on by a major league hitter if they know it's coming.
As you can see, the increase in usage actually started a little bit at the end of last season after his return from injury but the pitch has been taken to the next level this season. The movement he gets on the change is unreal (although hidden pine tar may be a factor here) and when he pounds the bottom of the zone the amount of groundballs he gets does wonders to keep his pitch count low.
That's nearly a reverse slider at this point! His ground ball rate is sitting at 54.9% in his five starts this year compared to mid to high 30's the past few years. Moral of the story is that Pineda has become one of the most dependable pitchers on the Yankees staff and once he really refines the command of his changeup the result could be bad for the rest of the teams in the AL East.
- Devon Travis 2B
- Josh Donaldson 3B
- Jose Bautista DH
- Edwin Encarnacion 1B
- Russell Martin C
- Kevin Pillar CF
- Danny Valencia LF
- Ezequiel Carrera RF
- Ryan Goins SS
Find The Link
Find the link between Michael Pineda and the former Blue Jays third baseman fuelled solely by Red Bull.
Enjoy the game! This could be a rough one for the Blue Jays.