The Twins pitching this season has been dismal and as I took a look at the Twins pitching stats during last nights 11-2 drubbing at the hands of the Boston Red Sox I have to wonder what Terry Ryan, Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson can do to fix the problem. Before the Twins had even played one game that counted this season they had already lost reliever Joel Zumaya and starter Scott Baker to Tommy John surgery. Losing Baker who I thought was the Twins top starting pitcher was a serious blow to a team that already had pitching woes. The 29 year-old Baker had started 159 games with a 63-48 record over the last 7 seasons with a 4.15 ERA and could be counted on to keep the Twins in the game when he was on the mound. With Baker out for the season the Twins went in to the 2012 season with a starting five composed of Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Jason Marquis, Nick Blackburn and either Anthony Swarzak or Liam Hendriks. Liriano who was dubbed “the Franchise” back in 2006 when he went 12-3 has been a colossal disappointment this season and now is out of the rotation to clear his head after four terrible starts when he has gone 0-4 with a 11.02 ERA and 2.36 WHIP in 16.1 innings and giving up a league leading 20 earned runs. A 2.36 WHIP, that is incredible, 2.36 runners every inning. The Twins seem to be perplexed with what to do with Liriano and plan to have him skip a start and work on the side. Personally, I think the best thing they can do with Liriano at this point is send him back to the minors and have him pitch until he proves he can get big league hitters out. Everyone keeps saying that Liriano has “great stuff” and maybe he does and maybe he doesn’t but the bottom line is that right now he is not a major league pitcher and he has no business being in the big leagues. I would rather see the Twins call up some one from the minors and have them learn how to pitch in the majors than send Liriano out start after start with little to no hope of improvement. It is not all about physical ability, you have to understand how to pitch in the big leagues and I’m afraid that Francisco Liriano may never attain that stature. Pavano and Marquis are both veterans and you get what you see with these two, journeymen at best that are filling out a starting rotation. The sinker-balling Nick Blackburn is no star but can fill the back-end of a starting rotation. I am not sure what Liam Hendriks can do in the majors but I am willing to send him out every fifth day and see what he has to offer. Swarzak is probably best suited for the role he is in right now, the long man in the pen. The 25 year-old lefty Scott Diamond who was a Rule 5 pick-up from the Atlanta Braves in December of 2010 is tearing it up in Rochester with a 4-0 mark and a 1.07 ERA in four starts is worth calling up for a big league shot. What have you got to lose?
The Twins have to do something, but what? They are 5-13 and 5.5 games out and we are still in April. How much improvement can Gardy and Ryan expect from a pitching staff that is putting up these kinds of numbers?
|Oppenent batting avg.||.283||.256|