The man simply has not pitched well since injuring his elbow in 2004. As a starter in 2006, he was just atrocious:
- 25 GS, 7-12, 141.3 IP, 190 H, 54 BB, 67 K, 6.62 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, .326 BAA
In 24.3 innings out of the pen, he was better — an ERA of 4.81 but a WHIP of 1.19 and an opponents’ average of just .213, which seem to indicate he got a little unlucky, possibly with other relievers allowing his runners to score. In his final 15.67 innings (over 13 games and not counting a typically horrific start on Sept. 16), he gave up just four runs, an ERA of 2.30.
Tom Gordon was not exactly brilliant, sporting a 5.59 ERA the season before he moved to the pen (although he wasn’t doing too badly and had actually thrown a shutout before making the switch in August 1997). Dennis Eckersley also stunk his final season as a starter, in 1986, going 6-11 with a 4.57 ERA, actually worse than Gordon’s when adjusting for league average.
The Sox seem to believe Pineiro can make a similar transition. In 1998, Gordon’s first full season as closer, he saved 46 games, a team record that still stands. Eckersley cut his ERA by more than 1.5 runs while saving 16 games in 1987 and followed that season up with 45 more in 1988.
“Even when he was having great seasons as a starter, our (scouting) reports were, ‘Wow, this guy can be unbelievable in the bullpen,’” Sox assistant general manager Jed Hoyer said. … "Then, last year when he went to the bullpen, (reports) indicated he dropped his arm angle a bit and he got more life on the ball, which we thought would make for a very good transition. We think we signed a very good pitcher.”
His numbers out of the bullpen the end of last season were encouraging. Still, I think I’d feel more comfortable with
my grandmother Delcarmen or Timlin out there in the ninth come April 1.