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Posts Tagged ‘Joel Piniero’

The AL West shapes up as a showdown of pitching vs. offense, with the team that used to set the standard now entrenched as an also-ran and a rebuilding effort in the Great Northwest. In what should be essentially a two-team race, the nod goes to the A’s and their young guns.

Oakland surprised many by posting the best rotation ERA in the league last season. Despite trading Vin Mazzaro to Kansas City this offseason, the A’s still look to have easily the best rotation in their division, while adding Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes to what was an already impressive bullpen may give the team the best top-to-bottom staff in the league. Given their ages, one can only expect the rotation, led by Brett Anderson and strike-out machine Gio Gonzalez to continue to improve. While the offense is still underwhelming, adding Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham and David DeJesus to the under-rated Daric Barton and Kurt Suzuki should provide enough punch to lead the A’s to their first division title since 2006.

The defending league champions will miss the departed Vladimir Guerrero‘s bat, but that’s not the piece that looks to derail the Texas Rangers bid to repeat. Losing Cliff Lee and not replacing him with anyone has led them to scramble to find starters from their relief corps and a few reclamation projects, such as Brandon Webb. The Rangers will still hit – any team that includes Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Michael Young and Ian Kinsler will score runs. Adding Mike Napoli should help, but the Adrian Beltre signing is one of those “buyer beware” type deals: Beltre’s bat has a history of coming alive only in contract years, although his glove work remains impeccable. Expect Texas to be involved in a lot of 10-8 type games.

The Angels once were considered the standard of excellence in the division, making the playoffs 6 times in an 8 year span from 2002 – 2009. Last year, the team finished below .500 and they’ll struggle to reach that mark again this year. Provided Scott Kazmir can recapture some lost magic and Joel Piniero can continue to wiggle out of jams, the rotation looks to be better than average. But the once-feared bullpen is no longer a sure thing, now led by the erratic Fernando Rodney as the closer. The line-up is ill-suited to playing manager Mike Scioscia‘s style, featuring aging players now playing out of position – with the curious addition of Vernon Wells joining former stars Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu, as well as rookie Peter Bourjos in the outfield rotation. The Angels will be further hampered by 1B Kendry Morales uncertain status; reports suggest he may not return until May from last season’s freakish broken leg.

Finally, there’s the Mariners. Last year’s pre-season Cinderella pick collapsed by April 30th and went downhill from there. At least, this season doesn’t bring those types of expectations to Seattle – which is a good thing. If Erik Bedard is healthy again, he could prove a nice one-two pairing with reigning Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez. CF Franklin Gutierrez seemed to regress last year, but the talent is still there and he may have experienced the dreaded “sophomore slump.” Seattle fans will also be able to root for Ichiro Suzuki to make it 11 consecutive seasons with 200+ hits and 25+ steals, a feat never before accomplished in major league baseball.

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Yankees (11-5) vs Angels (9-9)

Pitching Matchup:

LHP Andy Pettitte (2-0, 1.35) vs RHP Joel Pineiro (2-1, 1.77)

Lineup:

Jeter SS
Gardner LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez DH
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Granderson CF
Pena 3B
Cervelli C (more…)

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  Javier Vazquez #31 Of The New York Yankees Reacts Javier Vazquez was horrible in his first start of the season, giving up eight earned runs over 5 2/3 innings. Looking to improve on that, he took the hill against the LA Angels yesterday.

The Pitching:

Javier Vazquez wasn’t very economical with his pitches and was knocked out early in the game. He pitched better than he did in his last start, but that was expected. His pitching line was (L, 0-2) 5.1IP 6H 4R 4ER 2BB 4K (100 Pitches, 60 for Strikes). It would’ve been difficult to actually do worse than his first outing, so it was definitely an improvement. If you really want to break it down though, he wasn’t very good today either. He is the 4th starter on this staff, but we still expect better things from him. The fans probably won’t lay off of him until he starts pitching better, as they still have the sour taste in their mouths from his last stint with the Bombers.

Alfredo Aceves entered the game in the 6th inning, recorded the last two outs and pitched the 7th as well. He wasn’t very good, allowing three hits and an earned run. Joba Chamberlain (8th) and Damaso Marte (9th) both posted up a scoreless frame to end the game.

The Offense:

The offense was completely shut down by Joel Piniero. Kind of a shocker. I’m sure many fans thought they would smash this guy to pieces, but that wasn’t the case. Piniero tossed 7 innings, allowing only one earned run and struck out seven Yankee batters. Derek Jeter and Robbie Cano both went 2-for-4 and picked up a run. Nick Swisher hit an RBI triple in the bottom of the 5th inning, posting the first Yankees run on the board. Nick Johnson went 1-for-4 on the game and picked up an RBI. Mark Teixeira went 0-f0r-4, and his batting average dropped to .097.

Later today, the Yankees will play their first night game of the season at Yankee Stadium. Phil Hughes will toe the rubber for his first start of the regular season under the bright lights of the city. He will be opposed by LHP Scott Kazmir. (more…)

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Yankees (5-2) vs. Angels (2-6)

Pitching Matchup: 

RHP Javier Vazquez (0-1, 12.71) vs RHP Joel Piniero (0-1, 4.50)

Yankees Lineup

Jeter SS
Johnson DH
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Posada C
Granderson CF
Swisher RF
Gardner LF (more…)

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