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Joel Pineiro Seems Fine

The Angels' pitching staff has a number of question marks. Scott Kazmir isn't what he once was. Ervin Santana appears to be as distant from 2008 as the Mariners. Joe Saunders is thoroughly hittable. The depth isn't real good. But while the team can't be real thrilled with how its arms have looked to date, early returns on the Joel Pineiro gamble are nothing but positive.

Things were looking good in Mach, when Pineiro induced 42 groundouts while recording just 13 outs in the air. But that's spring training. The real test comes during the regular season, and, well, what has Pineiro done in the regular season?

Through two games, against real solid New York and Minnesota lineups, Pineiro has allowed 40 balls in play. 27 of them have been grounders. For good measure, he's also struck out nine of 52 batters and generated a bunch of swinging strikes. And I should mention that he's done this against a million lefties. A year ago, lefties made up 49% of Pineiro's plate appearances. Through two games in 2010, lefties have made up 73% of Pineiro's plate appearances (38/52).

Joel Pineiro has looked good. Real good. And lest you wonder about his actual sinker, as opposed to the results his sinker has generated over a small number of games, the PITCHfx info has his sinker moving every bit as much as it did in St. Louis. The uniform is different, but the repertoire, it appears, is the same.

I wouldn't count on Pineiro continuing to miss bats. His strikeout rate a year ago was among the lowest in baseball, against inferior competition. That's probably a fluke, much like Doug Fister's early rate last summer. But the balls in play? No reason to think that's an anomaly. Pineiro is continuing what made him successful in 2009, and that's good news for a rival, and bad news for us.