It has been a different Michael Pineda at home compared with on the road this season for the Yankees and there’s no need to look any further than his opponent and outcome Tuesday night to prove that.
Less than a week after allowing five runs and 10 hits in six innings in Los Angeles against the Angels last Wednesday, Pineda fared much better at home in the Bronx on Tuesday night.
But the success wasn’t clear early and a quick glance at the boxscore reveals Pineda allowed three runs in the Yankees’ 8-3 home loss. A defensive miscue led to an elevated pitch count, which ended Pineda’s evening too early for a quality start, despite only allowing one earned run.
For Pineda, it’s all about focusing on his approach and just working with what he has that game.
“Some games you have great stuff and some games you don’t have your best stuff,” Pineda said. “But you need to figure it out on the mound and keep working and try to secure your pitches and make adjustments.”
The Angels came out swinging Tuesday night as Cameron Maybin jumped on the second pitch of the game for a double to rightfield. After a walk to Kole Calhoun, Albert Pujols smacked an RBI single to give the Angels a one-run lead with two runners on and nobody out.
Pineda rebounded after the first three batters, retiring the final three hitters of the inning without allowing a second run. The Angels added two runs in the second inning, set up by Chris Carter’s error on a hit by Eric Young Jr. to lead off the frame, for the final runs against the starter.
“I thought he battled really, really well tonight considering he had no location of his fastball,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Basically zero and he found a way to get through [5 2⁄3] innings for us.”
Pineda settled in from there, retiring 10 of the final 14 batters he faced, allowing one earned run and seven hits with one walk and seven strikeouts on 105 pitches.
“He seemed a little bit better at the end,” Girardi said, “but he really struggled with his command tonight and found a way to get through it, so I give him some credit for that.”
Pineda lowered his ERA to 1.91 in eight home starts this season, only allowing 17 runs (11 earned), 39 hits and 10 walks, with 58 strikeouts in 51 2⁄3 innings. His record remained 6-1 at home after the no-decision Tuesday night.
It’s a stark turnaround from last season, when Pineda pitched to a 4-5 record and 4.72 ERA in 16 starts at Yankee Stadium.
“We learn, we learn every year,” Pineda said. “Every year we learn and try to make adjustments.”
Pineda’s woes on the road have resulted in a 6.25 ERA and 1-2 record in six starts, allowing 22 earned runs in 31 2⁄3 innings in those outings. He has two quality starts away compared with six quality starts at home.
And as the Yankees woes continue — dropping seven straight games and falling into second place in the American League East — Pineda hopes he and his teammates will continue learning.
“It’s tough on everybody,” he said, “but the only thing you can do in life is keep working and keep your head up.”