Mariners top pitching prospect Michael Pineda didn't lose his spot as the No.5 starter in the Mariners rotation with his outing against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night in Peoria. But he didn't do anything to necessarily solidify it either.
Pineda had an up-and-down outing on a televised game in front of a packed Peoria Stadium, throwing four innings, giving up two earned runs (three total) on seven hits, with a walk and three strikeouts.
He was pumping fastballs up to 97 mph. But the problem was the location of those fastballs. They were over the middle of the plate and up in the zone. The result was not just hits, but extra base hits. The Brewers, particularly Rickie Weeks, hit the ball hard off him.
Weeks had three of the five doubles Pineda allowed, while catcher George Kottaras had a triple. So that means five of the seven hits he allowed went for extra bases.
The last time Weeks faced Pineda, he got ahead with a pair of sliders for strikes. But he tried to blow a 97 mph fastball by Weeks on the outside corner. But Weeks went with the pitch and ripped it right for a double.
"He's a pretty good hitter," Pineda said.
Pineda threw 63 pitches with 47 strikes. Not a bad ratio. He admitted it might be a few too many strikes.
"My fastball was a little up," he said. "I need to make it be a little down."
Manager Eric Wedge agreed.
"He left too many fastballs up," Wedge said. "If you do that, they are going to square them up."
Look the early scouting report against Pineda is going to be this: "Swing early and often because you are going to see fastballs."
Pineda threw said he threw about six changeups, and he threw around 15-18 sliders. Wedge liked the action on them, particularly the changeup.
"The swings tell you that," he said.
For Pineda, the changeup needs to be an effective part of the repertoire. Particularly against left-handed hitters.
"It goes away from them," he said.
Is Michael Pineda ready to be in the Mariners rotation" There are parts about this start that say yes, and other parts that say no. He'll have two more starts to show answer that question for the Mariners.