That was fun.
Michael Pineda came out throwing gas in his Triple-A debut, working six shutout innings of one-hit ball and earning the win in Tacoma’s 6-2 victory over Salt Lake last night.
The first thing you notice about Pineda is his size – the dude is huge. On a standard grounder to Brad Nelson at first base, Pineda ran over to cover the bag – and he absolutely dwarfed Nelson, who is a rather large human himself.
Pineda hit 98 mph on the Cheney Stadium radar gun, and he showed a slider and a change. His fastball has tremendous movement, and the heater is clearly his out pitch. He did go a stretch in the fourth and fifth innings where he struggled to locate it, but Pineda was still able to work out of trouble and keep the Bees off the scoreboard.
Talking to manager Daren Brown after the game, he said that Pineda’s stuff was “electric.” He also said that Pineda will pitch every fifth day, so even though the Rainiers have (by my count) seven starting pitchers right now, Pineda will make his second start on Monday night in Sacramento.
If Brown is true to his word, Pineda is currently lined up to start the Rainiers big July 3rd game – the annual fireworks show which always sells out. However, there is an off-day next Wednesday which could change things.
Today is a doubleheader, to make up for the April 27 rain out. Two seven-inning games, beginning at 6:00 – and it’s a Miller Lite Tasty Thursday, so you beer drinkers can really get after it tonight. The Rainiers are going to start LHP Ryan Feierabend (0-2, 6.27) and LHP Luke French (7-2, 2.21). Salt Lake will pitch LHP Will Smith (2-4, 5.98) and someone else.
The Rainiers enter the doubleheader with a two-game lead over Salt Lake, so this is a big one – we’ll either have a split, and maintain the two-game lead; or one team will sweep and make a big move in the standings. As always, the broadcast will be live on 850 AM and streaming via www.tacomarainiers.com.
Also, the Rainiers officially add reliever Joe Nelson to the roster tonight. Nelson had a great year with the Florida Marlins in 2008, and he spent most of 2009 in the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen. This season he excelled for Pawtucket, posting a 2.49 ERA in 16 games; got called up to the Red Sox, appeared in nine games there and was doing fine until a rough outing in Cleveland, and then was designated for assignment. The Mariners signed him after he cleared waivers and elected free agency.
To make room for Nelson, teenage catcher Carlton Tanabe was sent out (to either Everett, Pulaski, or Arizona – I’m not sure which High Desert). Tanabe was serving as insurance, in case either Josh Bard or Adam Moore had a setback while rehabbing, but that didn’t happen. Along with Guillermo Quiroz, the Rainiers have plenty of catchers.
Now for some links:
- The News Tribune’s game story has quotes from Michael Pineda, and catcher Adam Moore – who pointed out that Pineda didn’t “freak out.”
- On his Mariners blog, Ryan Divish has more on Pineda, including some outstanding photos and some Blair Witch-style video.
- More Pineda: from the highly knowledgable Marc Webster of USS Mariner, and Jeff Sullivan at Lookout Landing.
- Pineda gets a mention among others in this Baseball America blog post.
- Larry LaRue reports that Eric Bedard will start for Tacoma on July 1.
- In all of the Pineda Mania, it was easy to miss the fact that the Mariners won their sixth in a row. That Cliff Lee fella is pretty good, you know. Geoff Baker thinks that the Twins and Mets are the most likely trade partners. Rob Neyer also likes the Mets as a match.
- In the PCL, Portland swept a doubleheader from Fresno, winning both games in their last at-bat.
- Las Vegas lefty Marc Rzepczynski seems to have found his mojo.
- Reno seems to be playing a bit better – Kevin Mulvey tossed seven shutout innings.
- Congrats to New Orleans RG Tim Grubbs, who gets the nod from the PCL to participate in the national radio broadcast of the Triple-A All-Star Game. The game will be televised on the MLB Network, and we’ll have the radio on 850 AM.
- Here’s one for the baseball card collectors. Better get your Rojo Johnson card!
- In his blog – which requires a subscription my man Buster Olney uses the words “RA Dickey” and “Cy Young” in the same sentence.
A sad day in the homeland – my people lost.