Game 5, Mariners At Rangers
Pineda vs Oganda, 5:05 pm.
Just like last night, all eyes are on the M’s starting pitcher tonight, as Michael Pineda makes his big league debut. And, just like last night, I really wish we had an easier landing for the kid, but this is hand that Pineda is being dealt, so he’s going to have to get over his nerves while also shutting down an offense that is destroying the baseball right now.
The nice thing about this match-up is that the Rangers line-up leans pretty heavily to the right side, especially their power hitters. Yes, they have Josh Hamilton, but Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, and Michael Young all hit right-handed, and Pineda won’t need his change-up to get those four out. He can pitch around Hamilton and Mitch Moreland to some degree, knowing that there’s a right-handed bat not too far away if he needs to get an easier out.
Still, I’d imagine he’ll be plenty amped up for his first Major League start, so we’ll have to see how his command is. That’s his biggest strength, after all, and if he’s not throwing strikes, he could be out of the game by the 5th inning. I’d like to see Pineda dominate, but given the competition, I’ll settle for just okay tonight.