Michael Pineda will face his former team when the visiting Detroit Tigers play the Minnesota Twins for the second installment of a three-game series on Wednesday night.
Pineda, 33, pitched for the Twins for three seasons from 2019-21 before signing a free-agent deal with Detroit before the start of this season. The veteran right-hander went 22-13 with a 3.80 ERA in 53 games (52 starts) for Minnesota.
Despite Pineda’s solid statistics, the Twins opted not to re-sign him during the offseason. Instead, Minnesota reshaped its rotation by adding veterans such as Sonny Gray, Chris Archer, Chris Paddack and Dylan Bundy.
“It wouldn’t have been a bad thing, that’s for sure,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said, referring to the opportunity to re-sign Pineda. “Mike Pineda did some incredible things for us, pitched a lot of winning ball games for us, whenever we needed him. And he’s an excellent human being to be around. …
“I trust our process and the way we assemble our group. There were versions of the team that could have included Mike. Obviously, (it) played out this way. I can’t wait to see Mike. I shouldn’t say I’m looking forward to seeing him pitch against us, but I look forward to seeing him in the flesh and see his big smile and hopefully catch up with him a little bit.”
Pineda (1-0, 0.00 ERA) pitched five scoreless innings in his season debut against the New York Yankees on Thursday. He allowed three hits, walked none and struck out two.
In five career starts against the Twins, Pineda is 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA.
The Twins will counter with right-hander Joe Ryan (2-1, 1.69 ERA), who is scheduled to make his fourth start of the season. He has allowed only nine hits in 16 innings this season while also walking five and striking out 16.
In his most recent start, Ryan tossed six scoreless innings against the Kansas City Royals to earn his second straight win. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out five.
This will be Ryan’s second career start against Detroit. He struggled mightily in his first matchup, giving up six runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings in September.
The Tigers hope to bounce back from a gut-wrenching loss in the series opener Tuesday night. They led 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Eric Haase committed a throwing error that allowed the tying and winning runs to score.
The defensive miscue spoiled a terrific night at the plate for Javier Baez, who hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth. Baez finished with four RBIs.
Detroit will have help in the bullpen after reinstating left-hander Andrew Chafin from the 10-day injured list Tuesday. Chafin, who signed as a free agent with Detroit during the offseason, has yet to pitch this season because of a left groin strain sustained during spring training.
“I just want to go out there, throw up zeroes and do my job, whatever is asked of me,” Chafin said. “If it’s the fifth inning, ninth inning, I don’t care. I’m just going to get outs.”
–Field Level Media