Anyone who plays in a head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues knows the value of a "two-start" pitcher. These are the pitchers with two starts in a given week, giving your squad a better chance of accumulating stats. Right now I'm in the middle of a battle for a playoff spot, and I need all the help I can get. This week I picked up one Joel "don't call me Jole" Piniero as a two-start guy with favorable matchups against Kansas City and Minnesota. How does Joel respond? 8 strong innings and a win after a shaky start.
But something tells me Mr.Piniero didn't step it up for my fantasy team (affectionately named the Briley Backers for one of the 6 gazillion left fielders to play next to Junior). Something tells me Joel Piniero is coming around. We've put the pressure on Joel here at Mariner Magic, and deservedly so, but his last 3 starts have been very encouraging. Take a look:
6 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
7 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
8 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Granted, these have been starts against the most potent offenses in the league, but that argument doesn't hold a lot of water with me. You're not going to face Texas, Boston, and New York every time out. Joel Piniero has had 3 straight strong outings. Period.
People have worried that we wouldn't see the old Joel. But let's think about this. After season-ending surgery in 2004, he didn't start again until April 15th. He didn't have spring training. I think it's fair to say he needed some time to get himself back. We'll see how he handles a tougher lineup. There's also something to be said for the inspiration King Felix has provided. He's putting this rotation on his back, and Joel's gladly hopped on. Care to follow Gil?
Take a look at Lookout Landing. Jeff has brought up some good points about Piniero, namely that he has been pitching to contact, and not striking out a ton of guys. He's gone against 3 weak lineups, has a great defense behind him, and is throwing in a pitcher-friendly park.
For now, Iet's give Joel Piniero credit. He's stepped up his game, and may not ever be the ace we had hope he would be, but could be a solid middle of the rotation guy. Add a #2 starter to go behind Felix, and the 2006 Mariners rotation is looking much better.
Oh-and nice work Yuniesky!
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