There has been an insane amount of attention paid to Michael Pineda this spring. First his weight, then his velocity. Now, if you can believe it, there are questions about whether he even makes the team:
That’s just insane to me. Not just because Pineda had a really nice rookie season last year which shows that he can get major league hitters out. And not just because he has been perfectly respectable this spring — he has struck out 16 batters in 16 and a third innings. But rather, because I can’t feature the Yankees wanting to deal with the talk radio and newspaper crap they’d get if the guy they traded for Jesus Montero starts in the minors.
Maybe they don’t care — the Yankees probably care way less about that stuff than a lot of teams — but starting Pineda in the minors seems like rash move.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.