A.L. East Review: Blue Jays pick up ground while Rays get dealt a tough hand

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Apr 29, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda (35) pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

  • New York Yankees
  • Overall Record: 19-12
  • Last Seven: 4-3

Of all the divisional foes the Yankees have faced, the only one they have yet to solve are the Toronto Blue Jays, with New York dropping 2 of 3 to Toronto earlier this week. That marks the second series the Blue Jays have taken from the Bronx Bombers this season.

Outside of the Blue Jays however, things have been pretty smooth sailing for the Yankees. The team has put to rest any concerns over the performance of its pitching staff, with a cumulative team marks of 3.34 ERA (5th), 3.52 FIP (7th), and a 5.4 staff WAR (2nd). In a hitter friendly division like the A.L. East, those are pretty impressive stats for a pitching staff.

While Andrew Miller (13 saves, 0 earned runs, 14.94 K/9) and Dellin Betances (4 wins, 0 earned runs, 14.26 K/9) get a lot of the credit, the performance of Michael Pineda cannot be downplayed. The big right-hander is off to a great start, with 4 wins in 6 starts with a 2.97 ERA and a 8.69 K/9 ratio. However, what’s more impressive is that Pineda has walked just 3 batters in 39.1 innings of work.

That kind of performance is essential for the Yankees right now. With Masahiro Tanaka just now throwing off of flat ground and C.C. Sabathia still struggling, Pineda has stepped up as the staff ace during the first month+ of the season. Of course, the team still needs Tanaka to find his way back, but it’s definitely encouraging to see Pineda starting to realize his potential, and to do so without the aid of pine tar to boot.

Next: 2nd place but a cold reality for Rays