It's easy to see the blazing fastball and the ridiculous movement and think that Michael Pineda is ready for the big leagues and the Seattle Mariners.
But the Mariners’ top pitching prospect is still just that – a prospect in need of a little polish.
And he could also use a little run support. Pineda pitched well Monday night at Cheney Stadium, but the three runs he allowed proved too many for the Rainiers to overcome in Tacoma’s 4-1 loss to Reno.
For the second straight game, and the third straight Pineda start, the Rainiers struggled to score runs, amassing three hits against five Reno pitchers.
Pineda allowed two hits through four innings. In the fifth, he walked Drew Macias and gave up a two-run homer to left to Yunesky Sanchez.
“He threw him back-to-back sliders,” Rainiers manager Daren Brown said. “The first one was a strike and he left the second one up, and Sanchez hit it out.”
Later in the inning, Chris Rahl hit a first-pitch fastball to left for a solo homer.
“He was ready to hit first-pitch fastball and they catch one once in a while,” Brown said. “Every time out is a learning experience, and I liked what he did the next inning.”
In the sixth, Pineda returned to his dominant form, pitching a 1-2-3 inning with back-to-back strikeouts to end his outing, throwing a couple nasty sliders and two fastballs at 97 mph.
Reno starter Zach Kroenke held the Rainiers hitless for the first five innings. And the Rainiers didn’t muster much after Matt Mangini doubled to lead off the sixth inning. Their best chance came in the eighth when they loaded the bases against T.J. Beam, but Reno went to reliever Jose Marte, who struck out Dustin Ackley to end the threat. Tacoma’s only run came on a solo homer from Eliezer Alfonzo in the ninth inning.
While the Mariners haven’t announced it, multiple sources have confirmed that catcher Adam Moore will be called up today and fellow catcher Rob Johnson will be sent to Tacoma.
“I haven’t heard anything officially yet,” Moore deadpanned with a wide grin and chuckle.
HALMAN ENDS 9K RUN
Greg Halman, who struck out 191 times last season, ended a run of nine consecutive strikeouts when he grounded out in the eighth inning.
Blake Beavan will make his Tacoma Rainiers and Triple-A debut today. The 6-7 right-hander was acquired from the Rangers as part of the Cliff Lee trade. Reno will start right-hander Josh Collmenter (3-2, 5.40 ERA). First pitch is set for 7 p.m. It will be broadcast on 850-AM and www.tacomarainiers.com .