New York Yankees

New York Yankees’ right-hander Michael Pineda pulled off a double-whammy in his favor with his latest performance.

Coming into last night’s start in Detroit with an 8.85 ERA in a four start span and a 6.92 ERA overall, Michael Pineda had a lot to prove to the New York Yankees organization in order to save himself from demotion.

Pineda not only possessed the worst ERA in baseball among qualified starters, but he came into the start having looked like a lost cause. A three and two-thirds, six earned run performance against the light hitting Tampa Bay Rays provided little hope entering a match-up with one of the best heart of the orders in the MLB.

Pineda impressed, gave the Yanks a chance to win, and accomplished two important factors: avoided a potential demotion while he still has minor league options, and proved he can still be a formidable piece to this starting staff.

The likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova, and CC Sabathia are all performing at a high level; it was crucial that Pineda show he can still pitch to that caliber as well.

Pineda hurled five and two-thirds promising frames, striking out eight and handing the game over the bullpen with the game tied at one.

The 27-year-old allowed less than two earned runs for the first time this season and lowered his ERA half a run in the process.

A pivotal piece to a ‘Big Mike’ turnaround has to be a focus on the present. Not the past. The more Pineda looks up at the scoreboard and his ever so inflated ERA, the less confidence will be present for him to turn the tables on his season.

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Masahiro Tanaka pitched to a 2.91 ERA in May. Nathan Eovaldi powered his way to a 3.25 ERA in the season’s second month. CC Sabathia dazzled to a 1.04 ERA, and Ivan Nova impressed with a 3.52 ERA in an equally as pivotal month for the club.

Michael Pineda? A 7.52 ERA in May.

He was starting to drift out of the mix of a starting staff that has shown tremendous upside. He was a liability in a rotation that he was supposed to help anchor at season’s start.

The Yankees can only hope that his most recent display gets him on a roll, and all indications show that it will. However, if it does not, the start bought him about an extra month’s worth of leeway.

If all else fails for the right-hander, the Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman, and the Yankees have an indication that Pineda can in fact produce for the club.

His slider was far more effective, his fastball did not leak over he middle of the plate nearly as much, and views of helplessness turned into views of optimism.

Questions of whether Pineda can be a major league caliber starting pitcher turned into: ‘Imagine if the current starting staff with a formidable Big Mike?’

All of these pressing questions can be answered within the next few starts, but the start at Comerica Park can provide the organization confidence and faith.

Michael Pineda is a key piece of this starting staff, proven through his recent effort, and will certainly not be purchasing a ticket to Scranton anytime before his options disappear: a true double-whammy.

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