Michael Pineda Filled with Glory, Strikes out 16 Players in 7 Innings

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The Dominican, Michael Pineda, has done merits to become the New York Yankees starting pitcher. His moment of glory came Sunday, May 10, “Mother’s day”. Indeed, the young man could not choose a better day to have shown us his outstanding performance; 16 strikeouts against the Orioles in just 7 innings, to lead the Yankees into a 6-2 win. Pineda’s performance puts him as the first Latino player to achieve this in fewer innings. Luis Tiant, José Rijo, Pedro Martínez were others who succeeded in striking out 16 players in a game, but in 8 or 9 innings. Pineda’s accomplishment corroborates what Pedro “El Grande” said days before beginning the 2015 season: “I have the conviction that Pineda will become the star of the Yankees, the boy had a good Spring Training and he has matured a lot”. This was the statement given by the Hall of Fame player. Words of wisdom!

In fact, Pineda has been doing excellent work, a performance which has led him to be the number one in the rotation of the Bronx bombers, in one occasion with a record of 5-0, 2.72 of effectiveness, and 54 strikeouts in 46 innings and 1/3.

His performance in the fifth week was outstanding, the best in MLB: having a record of 2-0, 0.60 and 22 strikeouts in 15 innings, numbers that led him to win the Most Valuable player of the week in the American League. This was the first time he received this award. Previously, he had received the Rookie of the Month in April 2011.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman finally redeems that transaction from the past. It turned out that in 2012 season, he sent Jesús Montero to Seattle for Pineda, and this caused some resentment in the Yankee sector, especially among fans. In 2011, before Montero made his debut in MLB, he was promoted as the future catcher of the organization. A tall young man, with good batting and excellent conditions ready to succeed. The Yankees move him up it in the last month of the season, he made his debut and quickly began to have an impact on the team. He stroke the ball hard and long and he will send it to the opposite end, giving the impression that he would soon become the next star of the team, especially at Yankee Stadium, where the dimension of the right field were quite short. Montero’s performance was good, finishing with impressive numbers: 4 HRs, 12 RBIs, and a .322 AVG.

Now, the same can be said about Pineda. Since his beginning with the Mariners in 2011, he had been outstanding, earning the award of Rookie of the Month in April 2011, but then halfway through the season had a remarkable decline. In the end, ended with a 9-10 mark, 3.74, and in 171.0 swung 173 rivals. Many said that the manager used him too much, considering that he was a rookie. In other words, he exploited him in the first months of the season and that’s why he has arm problems.

At the conclusion of the 2011 season, everyone in New York was talking about Montero’s future with the team. The possibility of playing first base in addition to its natural position, as a catcher, or perhaps as a designated batter. On January 13, 2012, Brian Cashman and the general manager of the Mariners, Jack Zduriencik made a deal, where the Yankees send Jesús Montero and pitcher Héctor Noesí to Seattle, as an exchange for Michael Pineda and also pitcher José Campos. This surprised the Yankee fans, and the news spread out quickly. Many disapproved and wanted to know why Montero was let go, considering that he was the future of the team. Many also had doubts regarding Pineda’s arm. An arm that the Yankees acquired because they needed another starting pitcher to complement the work of the star CC Sabathia. Seattle had an excess young pitchers that included Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker, but were looking for a Catcher; which was the main reason why they gave Pineda for Montero.

The 2012 season started, and the Yankees do not have Pineda, he injured his right shoulder as was out the whole year. While the Mariners relied on Montero, playing as a catcher and as a designated batter. The Venezuelan rookie player ended that year with good numbers: 15 HRs, 62 RBIs, and .260 AVG. In other words, It was a bad season for the Yankees, but positive for Seattle.

Starting the 2013 season, again the Yankees do not have the services of Pineda, the Dominican is still injured. Finally he entered rehabilitation at mid-year, and was forecasted to be ready by the final months of the campaign. In short, he never play and was out for the second consecutive year.

Finally, in the 2014 season, he starts with the team, his first games were pretty good, pitching a straight at 95 MPH, and right on target. Everything was going well, until one day saw that the player used “pine resin” in order to hit the ball better. The complaint reached the MLB offices. Joe Torre, who was on charge of disciplining, did not suspended him or even fined him, instead, he just got a warning. Pineda was saved in the first instances. We say first, because then the Yankees went to play at Fenway Park on April 23 against their archrivals. This time, the manager of the Red Sox, John Ferrell, realized that something was suspicious, and requested time in the second inning to notify Gerry Davis, the home umpire. This went to the mound, checked Pineda’s glove, then touched his neck and noticed that he had smeared pine resin. Pineda was ejected from the game. This time he was fined and suspended by MLB. This latest incident scared him, he corrected this bad habit and ended the campaign with a record of 5-5, and a 1.89 effectiveness.

Today Pineda demonstrates better discipline and respect for the game and the results have been amazing. He has more experience and wisdom to confront opponents. Pineda’s performance to a large extent has made that the Yankees so far have had a great season. They currently lead the East division of the American League, surprising everyone with their great performance. Thus, best wishes for Michel Pineda, who we hope will continue conquering laurels.

The best Latin American baseball pitcher who struck out players in one game:

PITCHER DATE INNINGS K’S
Luis Tiant, Cuba, Indians Julio 3, 1968 10 19
Ramón Martínez, Dom, Dodgers Junio 4, 1990 9 18
Pedro Martínez, Dom, Red Sox Sept 10, 1999 9 17
Pedro Martínez, Dom, Red Sox Mayo 5, 2000 9 17
Johán Santana, Ven, Twins Agos 19, 2007 8 17
Luis Tiant, Cuba, Indians Agos 22, 1967 9 16
Luis Tiant, Cuba, Indians Sept 9, 1968 9 16
José Rijo, Dom, Athletics Abril 19, 1986 9 16
Pedro Martínez, Dom, Red Sox Junio 4, 1999 9 16
Pedro Martínez, Dom, Red Sox Abril 8, 2001 8 16
Michael Pineda, Dom, Yankees Mayo 10, 2015 7 16
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