Michael Pineda's 168 strikeouts this year lead the team, and they are good enough for sixth in the American League among starting pitchers. So why does he have a 6-11 record with a 5.12 ERA?
Pineda's career in pinstripes has been nothing if not inconsistent, and it seemed as if last night's game against the Royals in Kansas City was that career in a nutshell. He had a terrible first inning, then cruised along pitching beautifully--retiring 15 in a row at one point--until the eighth inning, when he stunk again.
In his post-game comments, manager Joe Girardi said, "It's unusual because at times he's really, really good. Then there are times when he leaves a ball up, or doesn't quite get it high enough, or doesn't quite get it low enough. They put it in play and they're base hits."
Am I the only one who read "unusual" as "frustrating?" Because I am sure that is what Girardi is feeling, along with the rest of the coaching staff. I know I'm frustrated, almost enough to want the Yankees to non-tender him at the end of the season.
Would the Yankees really non-tender Michael Pineda? Hard to say when you look at the alternatives left to them. With Nathan Eovaldi's season-ending double injury, his career as a Yankee is likely over. I really can't see CC Sabathia completing 2017, the final year of his contract. Masahiro Tanaka's elbow is always in the back of everyone's mind. After that there are just the kids: Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino and whoever is on the come down in AAA.
The upcoming free agent market is not a good one when it comes to pitchers, the best one on it being Ivan Nova (who, by the way, is pitching to an under-three ERA for the Pirates). There's no way the Yankees are going to revisit that, even if he's Supernova for the rest of this season and into the playoffs.
So, it appears likely that Michael Pineda's Yankee career will continue beyond 2016. Is it too much to ask that his inconsistency will not? I hope not.