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Michael Pineda Finally Gets Ground Balls

I did not get to watch most of the game in real time as I was otherwise occupied, but I attempted to follow along with MLB At Bat as best I could and saw parts of the game from the sixth inning onward. In lieu of a Jeff-style recap, I wanted to touch briefly on Michael Pineda's pitching line tonight. 

Pineda came into tonight's game having had to face the Rangers (third best hitting team in MLB), the Blue Jays (ninth) and the Royals (sixth). While Pineda's been lights out and better than anticipated in some regards, it is worth remembering that he has also not been eased into the big leagues and so is due even extra credit. The Athletics, in still tepid Safeco Field, represented his weakest opponent to date and Pineda showed what he could do.

There was some downright silly swings made, but I don't have time right now to go back and GIF highlight them. The final line though was 97 pitches, 68% strikes, 12 missed bats and outside the 30-pitch second inning, Pineda needed no more than 15 pitches in any of the other five. What I really enjoyed seeing after the fact was the batted ball distribution. Ten balls in play stayed on the ground, four were classified as fly balls, just two were line drives and he tossed in a pair of infield pops as well. Compare that 56% ground ball rate to Pineda's previous high of 36% to get a feeling for just how big a jump this was tonight.

By my unofficial count, I have Pineda down for eight change ups with 29 sliders and 60 fastballs in his 97 pitches. It's funny that for all the talk about how dynamite his slider is and how much work his change up still needs, the two are sometimes difficult to tell apart*.

*That might be where the work needs to focus

Meanwhile, Pineda saw three runs cross in his Major League debut, followed by two runs in his next start, followed by one run in his last start, followed by tonight's zero runs. You're boned, Detroit.