Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The End For Baker?

In yesterday's Star Tribune, manager Ron Gardenhire made it quite clear that if Scott Baker couldn't put up a decent outing in his start against the Angels last night, he would be out of the rotation. Well, Baker gave up six earned runs and failed to make it out of the fifth inning, so his fate may be sealed. On the one hand, I want to be a little frustrated, because I have seen the Twins stick by veterans through longer stretches of ineptitude. At the same time, Baker clearly can't get it done right now. While I'm far from convinced that Carlos Silva is ready to step back in and promptly widdle his ERA down, Baker could probably use some starts in the minors to get his confidence back up.

Meanwhile, Rondell White continues to get at-bats and continues to look absolutely horrific in each one. White stepped up four times last night, grounding out three times and flying out to foul territory in right field once. I'm almost as frustrated at the presence of White in the lineup every night as I am the presence of Juan Castro, and it's tremendously disappointing because I really expected White to be a solid addition to this offense. The sad fact is that for whatever reason, White simply cannot get it done this point. His average has fallen back below the Mendoza line and, not surprisingly, he ranks dead last in the majors in VORP at -18.1. If there was an award for baseball's Least Valuable Player, Rondell wouldn't have a whole lot of competition.

Last night the Twins' offense once again looked punchless against a sub par starting pitcher -- this time Jeff Weaver. Just when the Twins put together a string of good performances like the sweep of the Mariners this weekend and you start to think that just maybe it is a better team than their record shows, they play like they have in the last two ballgames and remind us that they most definitely are not. The Twins stand about zero chance of making the playoffs and yet they continue to regularly trot out Castro, White and Tony Batista, a trio of players in their mid-30s who will be gone next year. Now tell me, where's the sense in that?

5 comments:

bjhess said...

I was a white apologist - until Monday when he was picked off for the second time in, what, a week? This time in scoring position during a close game. There's is no good excuse for why Gardy didn't at least bench him the next game. That mistake was Huh-youge.

twayn said...

I don't know if Baker would benefit at this point from another stint in the minors. He hurt himself with the walks last night, but showed pretty good control. The Angles for the most part were just finding a way to get wood on some good pitches. Vlad's right field blooper off the fists (is there a pitch that guy can't hit?) and Anderson golfing a changeup down in the dirt for a hit (I swear that pitch hit the ground and he made contact after the bounce). Baker threw about 98 pitches I think, and about 66 or so were strikes. Unfortunately, when he did make mistakes, especially up in the zone, they hurt him mightily. I'd hate to see them send Baker down at this point. I think it would do more to shake his confidence than to get it back. Unless, of course, he needs to work on his leadership, urgency or consistency like Jason Bartlett.

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