Mariners top pitching prospect Michael Pineda made his Triple A debut on Wednesday night at Cheney Stadium and didn't disappoint.
The big, hard-throwing right-hander pitched six shutout innings, allowing just one hit, while striking out five and walking three. I had Pineda throwing 91 pitches with 61 for strikes with 73 fastballs, 13 sliders and five changeups. He threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of 22 batters.
His fastball ranged from 91 to 97 mph, his slider was around 82-84 and his change at 88-90.
Here's some video (yes I know the quality isn't great, I'm hoping the TNT will break down and get us an HD flip camera).
“It was my first time here, and I was trying to focus on the game, but I was excited too,” Pineda said. “But after that first hitter, I felt good.”
Perhaps no player on the field had a better view and read on how good Pineda was on Wednesday and how good he can be in the future than his catcher Adam Moore.
Moore, who’s in Tacoma on a rehab assignment, saw several reminders of another Mariners pitching phenom – Felix Hernandez.
“Man,” Moore said. “He spots up everything. His fastball reminds a lot of (Felix Hernandez). It’s either cutting or sinking and he’s able to place it where he wants it. He was very impressive tonight.”
Pineda had perfect game through three innings, but walked two batters in the fourth. He lost his no-hitter in the fifth when he walked Hank Conger to start the inning and then Paul McNulty blooped a slider into right field for the first - and only - hit that Pineda would allow.
With runners on first and second and no outs, Pineda showed his mental toughness, he struck out Terry Evans looking, got weak ground ball and then struck out Angels prospect Peter Bourgos on three straight sliders.
“He was able to compose himself and get out there and compete,” Moore said. “It was nice to see him not freak out and bear down and get out of that jam.”
And that really was the only rough patch for Pineda between the fourth and fifth inning, he walked three of the four hitters he faced.
“I made an adjustment,” he said.
What was the adjustment?
“You can really see it coming out of his hand, his arm kind of opens up,” Moore said. “I just reminded him to get on top of the ball. He was just leaving his arm open instead of closing it up.”
After the few shaky moments in the fifth, Pineda closed out his outing in the sixth a 1-2-3 inning, though Mark Trumbo did hit a deep fly ball to center that Greg Halman hauled in.
“That was on the only ball hit hard,” Brown said.
In his final inning, Pineda looked very strong, touching 96 on the radar gun twice with his fastball
More cool photos from Drew after the jump ...