Cleat Geeks

The Pinstripe Post; Stop Living in Denial About Michael Pineda

JoeGirardiPressConference“We still believe in Michael [Pineda]. We are on schedule. We have not made any changes.” These words Yankees manager Joe Girardi uttered after the last disastrous outing by troubled pitcher Michael Pineda. No sooner had the words left his mouth had Yankees fans, forever frustrated and discouraged this season, cringed.

Why?

It’s understandable that a manager wants to stand by his player. Leaders don’t throw their people under the bus. At the same time, something obviously isn’t working for Pineda. It never feels good to be bumped, but there comes a point when a manager has to put the operation before feelings. In the end, if Pineda can be helped and he does fix his glitches, he will benefit as well.

Breaking down the season so far, Pineda is performing poorly. His 2-6 record is accompanied by a 6.92 ERA, which is the highest of all American League pitchers with enough innings to qualify.

Pineda1And for Girardi to make it sound like things were fine after Pineda lasted a mere 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits? At this point, the Yankees should not be only be concerned about the pitching staff, but their manager as well.

“As of right now there are no changes. [Optioning Pineda] is not something that has crossed my mind.” Is Girardi oblivious? While maybe optioning is not the next step, but something has to change.

Consider the case of Clay Buchholz, struggling starter for the rival Boston Red Sox. Buchholz has had a rough season for the Red Sox and it got to a point where manager John Farrell decided change had to come. Change arrived.

Buchholz the starter is now a reliever. While it may be humiliating and certainly will hurt to be demoted like that, sometimes the change is what it takes. Buchholz’s first relief appearance was a solid one, pitching a scoreless tenth inning and picking up the win.

Take note that Buchholz was not quite as bad as Pineda up until that point. He had a 2-5 record and an ERA just over six. His final outing as a starter saw six runs given up on seven hits. The next day, Farrell made the move.

GirardiPinedaCould this be what it takes for Michael Pineda? It’s hard to say whether what works for Buchholz would work for Pineda. The Yankees owe it to Pineda to try something new and Pineda owes it to not only the team, but himself, to try something new. Maybe something will click.

Don’t give up on Pineda yet, Girardi. But June is coming quick. The time for experimenting is now, but time is running out.

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