Is Michael Pineda the Ace of the Yankees Starting Rotation?

Bronx, NY—Although the 2015 season is in its first week, Yankees fans have serious questions regarding the starting rotation. Much has happened to each of the Yankees starters of the opening day roster of 2014.

Hiroki Kuroda ended his major league career and returned to Japan to again pitch in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

CC Sabathia made only eight starts in 2014. Inflammation in his right knee required surgery and kept him on the disabled list From May 11 through the remainder of the 2014 season. He is scheduled to make his first start of the year this week.

Ivan Nova’s last of four 2014 starts of 2014 came on April 19. An MRI the following day showed a partial tear of his right ulner collateral ligament. Reconstructive surgery prevented Nova from pitching another game in 2014. He’s still on the DL.

Masahiro Tanaka was exceptionally effective in his rookie season in MLB until a right elbow injury kept him on the DL from July 8 through September 20. The results of his three starts since his return to action have been disappointing, especially to him.

Wednesday’s starter Michael Pineda was suspended by MLB for 10 days, April 24-May 5 last year. On the next day, May 6, he began a lengthy stint on the disabled list that lasted through August 12 due to a right shoulder muscle injury.

In his nine starts after returning from the DL Pineda was 3-3, but his ERA was a superb 1.91. During 2015 Spring Training, he compiled a 2-0 mark with a 1.42 ERA.

Pineda and Toronto’s starter R.A. Dickey also faced each in their first appearance of the 2014 season. In that contest, the Yanks lost 4-0, but Pineda pitched very effectively, giving up five hits and one run in six innings. The Dominican native fanned five but did not walk a batter.

His 2015 debut performance was quite similar. He again pitched six frames, giving up two runs on six hits; he fanned six and walked one.

Another similarity in his starts was his lack of run support received. The Yanks scored two runs or fewer in nine of his 13 starts in 2014. Since August of 2011, he is the third lowest in the majors in runs scored by his teammates.

On Wednesday, the Yanks did not score a run until he had thrown the last of 96 pitches. They scored four runs to win the contest, 4-3, but all were scored after he completed his performance.

Although it’s far too early in the season to determine who is the best Yankee pitcher in 2015, it should be mentioned that Pineda’s WYHIP of 0.83 was the lowest in the majors in 2014. Among active pitchers, Pineda is the lowest in opponents’ career batting average and lowest in career opponents’ on-base-percentage.

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