If Francisco Liriano is looking for an opportunity to start, this would seem to be it. Ron Gardenhire said the rookie southpaw would not make a start unless the Twins were out of the race, and after losing their latest home series against the Rangers, they are out of it for all intensive purposes. Furthermore, it seems a spot in the rotation may have become available after Kyle Lohse's temper tantrum following a performance on Tuesday in which he allowed 5 runs in the first two innings and was subsequently pulled from the game. Lohse apparently went on a tirade after the game that left a few doors in clubhouse damaged, including that of Gardy.
Explaining his frustration after the game, Lohse said, "I would have liked to have somebody stand behind me and say, 'We've got your back, go out there and shut them down from here on.' That didn't happen today, so whatever." Gee Kyle, it's hard to feel too sympathetic to you considering you allowed two home runs including a grand slam in the first two innings of the game. What reason could anyone possibly have to feel like you're going to go out and "shut them down" for the rest of the game?
Gardenhire defended himself by labeling Lohse's argument as absurd, stating that he has quite clearly had his back for the past three years. This is completely true. Kyle has done nothing to deserve a regular spot in the Twins' starting rotation over the past three years, posting ever-increasing ERAs of 4.23, 4.61, and 5.34. Last season, the case could be made that he was the worst starting pitcher in the Major Leagues to hold down a spot for the entire season. But Gardy stuck with him, and now Lohse has the nerve to come out and bitch about being pulled after giving up a grand slam? It's not like he could argue with the results... the Twins' bullpen pitched well and the team actually almost came back to win if not for a Joe Nathan ninth-inning meltdown. With all that said, it's hard to imagine just what Kyle is whining about. If he's trying to make the case that his self-esteem is damaged, I don't think he'll get much support; thanks to his greedy agent Scott Boras, Lohse is making $2.4 million this year to put up some very mediocre numbers.
Pin down Monday, September 12, at Detroit on your calendar. It is the date of Lohse's next scheduled start, but I'd be very surprised if he actually makes it. The Twins are officially labeling him as questionable due to a sore finger, but I'm thinking it might have more to do with a sore relationship between player and manager. I think there is very much doubt that Kyle Lohse will be pitching for the Minnesota Twins next year, and I for one am not all that disappointed by that.