Wednesday, April 6, 2016

McHugh, Pineda out to start '16 on right foot

After needing two tries to play their first game, the second game of the 2016 season for the Yankees and Astros on Wednesday will serve as a second chance of sorts for the men on the rubber.
Collin McHugh and Michael Pineda will take the mound for Houston and New York, respectively, each aiming to start their seasons right after 2015 campaigns that didn't quite live up to their 2014 production.
Though McHugh was a mainstay in the win column, racking up a 19-7 record, his ERA ballooned to 3.89 -- a far cry from the 2.73 mark he put up in his first full season in the Majors in 2014 -- and his WHIP jumped from 1.022 to 1.277.
Pineda, meanwhile, posted a 4.37 ERA over 27 starts in his first full season since 2011. Though he still proved to be a dominant strikeout pitcher, setting down 8.7 batters per nine innings, his biggest downfall was leaving the ball over the plate, as he allowed 176 hits in 160 2/3 innings.
Three things you should know
• Wednesday will likely mark the first start of the season for Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner. Gardner sat out the season opener Tuesday against reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel due to his less-than-stellar history against the dominating left-hander. Gardner hasn't fared too much better against McHugh, though; the outfielder is 1-for-6 lifetime, with one RBI and one walk against three strikeouts.
• Gardner isn't the only Yankees player against whom McHugh has had success. In fact, the right-hander has been historically strong against the entire club. In two career starts spanning more than 14 innings, McHugh is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 16 strikeouts, allowing just 11 baserunners.
• April has been kind to Pineda in his career. Pineda has pitched more innings in April than any other month and has parlayed that durability into a 2.62 ERA, his best of any month, and 77 strikeouts in 82 1/3 innings.

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