The Twins certainly could have given the Rangers a run for their money last night, save for one person: Brad Radke. Radke, along with Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse, has so far been among the leagues worst starting pitchers, if not the worst. If you forget about Radke's solid performance against Kansas City last week, he is 2-4 with a 9.19 ERA, not to mention that ugly .349 opponent's batting average. As for Silva, without his good start against KC, he'd be 1-4 with a 10.32 ERA. And Lohse is 1-3 with a 9.71. To put things in a different way, the Twins as a club are hitting .256/.313/.378 as a club. Opponents are hitting .311/.351/.506 with 44 HRs and 170 RBI. That's generally not conducive to a lot of winning.
If last night's start proved anything, its that if the Twins want to win, they need to do something about their starting pitching. Four runs may have been enough to beat the Rangers, if only a different man was on the mound. Radke's line -- 5 IP, 11 hits allowed, 6 earned runs, three walks, and one measly strikeout -- was simply awful. Even if Radke is a "veteran" who signed for less money and clearly a fan favorite, he needs to be called into question. The Twins need to considering trading or reassigning all three of these guys. I would rather almost anyone else was starting. Even with a rotation of Santana-Liriano-Baker-Guerrier-Bonser, I'd be more comfortable. At least there would be an apparent effort to get better.
The point is, its getting into May and the Twins are 13-19. Something needs to be done. Its getting ridiculous and we can't expect this lineup to go out and win every game, even if they are showing signs of life and starting to take better at-bats. If that kind of play results in nothing, the likeliness is that the Twins batters will just resort to old habits.
Everytime I see Radke, Silva, or Lohse's name before a game, I get nervous. Its almost never a good feeling. The good news is that change may be on the way. The MLB.com Twins reporter, Kelly Thesier, noted in her mailbag that "the patience with Lohse also seems to be wearing thin, especially after two bad starts in a row against the Tigers. Carlos Silva showed promise, finding his sinker again in his last start, and Brad Radke has the proven track record as a 12-year veteran, so I think if Liriano is going to ease into the rotation it will likely be in Lohse's spot." I, of course, still think Radke may need to be moved and I am not yet sold that Silva is "back," since it was only KC. But I'd love to see Liriano take Lohse's spot. I think just about all Twins fans would love that.