Wednesday night’s game will see Yankees RHP Michael Pineda face off against Rays RHP Alex Cobb.
2016 was Pineda’s first full injury-free season in pinstripes. He made 32 starts and pitched to a 4.82 ERA (3.79 FIP) across 175.2 innings. He totaled 207 Ks on the season, which yielded a league leading 10.6 K/9. The large discrepancy between Pineda’s ERA and his FIP suggest that he was pretty unlucky last season. His HR/FB rate was a staggering 17% and his BABIP against last year was 39 points higher than his career average. Simply put, Pineda saw a lot of fly balls leave the yard, and a lot of balls put into play get past the defense and fall in for hits.
That wasn’t the whole story for Pineda though. What we’ll want to keep an eye out for in his first start of the season is how he performs with two outs. In 2016 with 2 outs in an inning, Pineda was, in a word, awful. In such situations, he had an 8.84 ERA and a .981 OPS against. In 2015, those numbers were 2.76 and .625, respectively. He just wasn’t able to close the door on innings, and it absolutely killed him.
Pineda made five starts against the Rays last season, going 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in 24.2 innings pitched. I’d like to be able to tell you those numbers were inflated by a couple bad games, but they were pretty much all bad games. It’s a new season and a new team though, so anything can happen.
On the other side of the rubber, Alex Cobb looks to bounce back after a 2016 season that saw him spend five months on the disabled list. In five September starts, Cobb had an 8.59 ERA in 22 IP, striking out 16 and walking 7. Not great numbers, but we can’t tell much from them since Cobb was coming off such a long DL stint. I’ll still note though that two of those starts were against the Yankees, and in those games he pitched a combined 7.1 innings and allowed 10 earned runs. 7 of those runs came in Cobb’s last start against the Yankees, in which he only lasted 1.1 innings. Gary Sanchez hit his 18th home run of the season off of Cobb in that game, a three-run shot in the first inning. What a magical time that was.
Here’s today’s starting lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- C Gary Sanchez
- 1B Greg Bird
- DH Matt Holliday
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 2B Starlin Castro
- 3B Chase Headley
- RF Aaron Judge
- SS Ronald Torreyes
The game starts at 7:10 p.m. EST at Tropicana Field.