Michael Pineda is back for the Minnesota Twins, following a banned substance suspension that lasted 60 total games (36 this season), and his presence has already been felt. He has provided immediate relief to a staff that is incredibly deep… yet doesn’t have a sure-fire #1 pitcher for a playoff series.
A Look Back…
In 2019, Pineda was one of the Twins’ most reliable starting pitchers. Jake Odorizzi was an All-Star and Berrios pitched well for most of the season, but it was Michael Pineda who looked like the staff ace as the schedule rolled into September.
In his first year with the Twins, Pineda pitched in 26 games for a 11-5 record. His 1.16 WHIP was the best on the team, for any pitcher with 70+ innings. Michael’s 4.01 ERA isn’t terrible, but it’s bloated to 4+ because of the front half of the season.
After the All-Star break, Pineda became the Twins best pitcher. In his 14 appearances, he pitched 82 innings and had a 2.41 ERA. It all began in a 10-5 over the Mariners on June 13, where he gave up just one run. After that game, he had just two appearances where he gave up more than three runs.
Since July 1 of 2019, Michael Pineda (#MNTwins) ranks 5th among American League starting pitchers in ERA (min. 70 IP).— Matthew Taylor (@MatthewTaylorMN) September 8, 2020
1. Justin Verlander – 2.30
2. Gerrit Cole – 2.33
3. Mike Clevinger – 2.35
4. Shane Bieber – 2.42
*5. Michael Pineda* – 2.86#PlayoffCaliber
Since his return, Michael Pineda has started two games and he’s picked up right where he left off. He’s given up just two runs in his first two outings back. In his first start against the White Sox, Pineda surrendered just two runs on six hits and held Chicago scoreless after the first inning.
Michael Pineda from June 1-Sept 6 2019: 3.10 ERA, 90 K, 87 IP.— danhayesmlb (@DanHayesMLB) September 7, 2020
This season: 2.77 ERA, 12 K, 13 IP.
Will say it again — losing Pineda crushed the #MNTwins‘ playoff chances last year. He’s been one of their best pitchers and he’s already back in top form.
On Monday, Pineda picked up his first win. He lasted for seven innings and gave up just two runs on three hits, striking out eight in the process.
Having Big Mike back, and in his top form, is huge for the Twins. The pitching staff has had to hold the team together, with the bats slow to heat up. Pineda helps that cause tremendously, giving his team a shot to win each time he’s on the mound.
Maeda has been consistently good and so was Dobnak, before Tuesday evening. You also have Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi, if he can get healthy again. It’s hard to say yet what the rotation will look like come playoffs, but Pineda is giving Baldelli another weapon in an already deep starting rotation.
So far, Pineda looks like a weapon that might be best used for a game 1’s come October…
AJ Condon | Minnesota Sports Fan