Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pineda does it again. (So, once more, where is Jesus Montero?)

The other day, I screwed up. I wrote that, without Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees had no viable Wild Card one-game starter. (What I meant to say was, without Tanaka, the Yankees have no chance of reaching the one game wild card.) In fact, we do have a pitcher who could win that game. His name is Michael Pineda, the Yankee ace.

Chew on those words for a moment: 

Michael Pineda, the Yankee ace.

Wow. Quick now, show of hands: Did anybody ever expect to see those words on this web site? I sure didn't. It felt weird just now, typing them. In the entire haunted hayride Yankee career of Ivan "Super" Nova, with all its ups and downs, we never remotely pondered him as an "ace." (Though Supe is having a great year in Pittsburgh: 4-3 with a 2.63 ERA and two complete games.) But who else would qualify as top dog? Tanaka has fallen apart, and everybody else is a bingo board. In what will likely be his final year as a Yankee - (he's a free agent next winter) - Pineda, now 29, has become our best starting pitcher. Last night, he took us into the seventh, beating the Royals 4-2. 

It was a game from an alternative Yankee universe. Chris Carter homered (and didn't strike out.) Brett Gardner hit his 9th HR in 21 games - a dizzying, McGwireian pace that would project to 70 over a full season. Hicks, Judge, Sanchez and Castro - the Yankee war machine - went 0-13. Yet we won. And Pineda - who won a million-pitch duel with Salvador Perez, their best hitter - today has us shaking our heads. It's been five long and crummy years since Brian Cashman pulled the trigger on Jesus Montero, creating a debate that looked like it would go forever between Yankee and Mariner fans... though it soon became a comparison between herpes and chlamydia. 

But make no mistake: The Yankees won that deal. Montero has a .311 lifetime batting average in the minors, where he has been serving a lifetime sentence. He is now in the final weeks of a 50-game suspension for juicing. He is a first baseman in the Orioles system, and will likely report to Triple A Norfolk around June 1. The O's have Chris Davis at first and Mark Trumbo as DH, so good luck to Jeez. Too bad we can't give Baltimore a handful of magic beans and bring Montero home... to the happy fans of Scranton. But what would be the point? We've got Greg Bird and Tyler Austin on rehab. And somewhere down there is Gi-man the He-Man. First basemen are leaping out of the streams like Asian carp.

Of course, I can't write a glowing post about Michael Pineda without mentioning the possibility that it's just a drug flashback, and next outing, he'll surrender six runs with two outs in the third. And when Montero homers in Norfolk - his 123rd lifetime HR in the minors - we'll drag out the debate, for old time's sake. But let's be real here.

Michael Pineda, the Yankee ace. Wow. What a concept.


KD said...

Take a bow, Mustang.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

I don't like the way our ace wears his hat.

Mustang said...

I am humbled

Ken of Brooklyn said...

I thought the worse after that first homer, great job pitching last night,,,, Eating my words!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It is like when the guy who had three beers gets pulled over by the police while driving a car full of drunks. They all look at the officer and tell him .... " he is the best we got" .

Leinstery said...

No no no no NO. Every single time we float the idea that we won the Jesus trade, Pineda shits the bed for a month. This wasn't a definitive "we won" so he'll probably only have two shitty starts, but we have to be careful. After-all, he is the most prone to reverse juju.

Alphonso said...

I agree. It is better to remain silent on the subject.

I have argued, for years, that we lost that trade even with Jesus in the minors. What if I were to change horses in midstream? Like now. It would not and could not help.

Let's just imagine that the subject has never surfaced.

We have a guy named Pineda who pitches for us.

Wash your brains of these things.

"He is the best we've got." Well spoken, anonymous.

Wezil1 said...

Will the masters of this blog please address the ever changing and always present twitching which accompanies any Pineda start? Does it mean something? Is it a type of pitching Tourettes? What did Joey Binders call them last night......gestures? Something like that. In my household he is referred to as Twitch.....but if you think about it, the hitters have to see all that somewhat involuntary movement and wonder what might let fly their direction when it is their turn. Best of luck to our newly crowned Ace