Well, at least you can count on Michael Pineda to be one thing this season: Inconsistent.
After taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his last start, Pineda failed to get out of the fourth last night. He gave up eight runs on eleven hits, with no strikeouts, to the Philadelphia Phillies, the worst team in baseball.
What's the reason for this inconsistency? Is he hurt? Does missing that start a few weeks ago have something to do with it? Or, is his he simply going through a rough patch?
The sad thing about it is that no one really knows. I was up early this morning, listening to Tony Paige on WFAN. Paige paraphrased something Suzyn Waldman said last night: "Everyone wants to protect these pitchers, but they don't know how."
She hit the nail right on the head. It seems that, no matter how teams try to prevent it, their pitchers get hurt anyway. The Yankees alone have several examples: Joba Chamberlain had the Joba Rules, and he needed Tommy John Surgery. Ivan Nova had no innings limits or restrictions of any kind, and he needed Tommy John Surgery.
Speaking of Nova, he will make his first start in 14 months tomorrow afternoon. Nova has his own history of inconsistency. Don't be surprised if he is not sharp tomorrow. I, myself, am not expecting much from him at all, especially since he seems to have been rushed through his rehab. The Mets took their time with Matt Harvey, not allowing him to start until 18 months after TJ. Even with that longer rehab, Harvey still has been slowed by a few bumps in the road.
The bumps that Pineda has had and that Nova will have could prove to be fatal for the Yankees in an AL East that is now tighter than a drum. Hopefully, they will find a way to loosen things up.