Vidal Nuno struggled when he first joined the Yankees’ injury-plagued rotation, but has improved over his last five starts.
Going into his May 18th start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Nuno’s ERA was 6.43 and he was coming off a poor outing against the Mets, but that day would be different. He went 6 innings and gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and a walk.
Another positive development from that day, was that the three Pirates’ stars that were in the lineup that day (Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, and Starling Marte), went only 2-for-8 against Nuno (a single by McCutchen and a home run by Marte in the sixth inning).
In his next outing against the White Sox, he picked up right where he had left off, giving up 3 runs over 7 innings. Also, the number 3-6 hitters in the Southsider’s lineup (Dayan Viciedo, Adam Dunn, Alexei Ramirez, and Paul Konerko) went 1-for-10 against Nuno.
Nuno’s next start against the Oakland Athletics on June 4th was not quite as successful, seeing as he didn’t make it through the fifth inning. To make matters worse, the big hitters in Oakland’s lineup (Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes) went 3-for-4 with a home run (Cespedes).
In Nuno’s most recent start which came against the Seattle Mariners, he was outstanding, pitching 5.2 innings of one-run baseball, while giving up only four hits and one walk. Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager did manage to rough him up a bit, as they went a combined 2-for-5 against Nuno.
Nuno will start today against the Athletics in the series finale of the Yankees west coast road trip, and it will be a good test of his ability to adjust.
He will need to keep in mind the fact that if he throws Cespedes the same hanging slider as he did when they last faced off, the ball will travel well over 400 feet off of his bat, just as it did last time.
He will have to throw Brandon Moss slider after slider, as he did last time when he struck Moss out twice.
Oakland is first in the American League in runs scored and second in home runs. In order to be successful, Nuno will have to be smart with his pitch selection, and above all, locate his pitches. If he fails to do so, he won’t make it any further than last time.