For the fourth time this season, Michael Pineda took the mound in search of his 10th win and pitched well over six innings, giving up only two runs while striking out eight, but once again the M's failed to hit as the White Sox's John Danks struck out 10 in a complete-game shutout.
Pineda took the loss in stride, stating to Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times, "I know it's a long season. But I've been working hard every day so I can finish strong in the last month. I want to finish the season stronger. I feel strong now.''
After a couple of uneven starts following the All-Star break, it's been nice to see the rookie get back on track of late to boost his confidence as the season enters its final weeks.
To date, Pineda's been fantastic with a 9-8 record, 156 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.09 this season; however, in having pitched over 150 innings across 25 starts, it's time to shut the rookie down for this year.
For now though, the Mariners seem to have no such plans. As Baker reported last night, "Wedge was taking no chances with the future of Pineda's arm. Wedge has Pineda's workload mapped out so he can make it through the season in complete fashion without wearing down."
Perhaps the team wants to push Pineda a bit in conditioning him for an increased workload next year or thinks he could still win the AL Rookie of the Year award, but why put unnecessary mileage on his arm and risk anything happening at this point?
In this case the risk is much higher than any potential reward for this year, as the Mariners are out of contention and Pineda himself has nothing left to prove. He's a top-of-the-rotation stud that can be paired with Felix for the next several seasons and eventually groomed to take over in the event that Felix won't be in a Mariners uniform forever.
Could he pitch another five or six outings?
Maybe, but should he?
Long term, it's not worth it.