The Twins just continue to streak. After a four-gaming losing streak on a west coast trip, the Twins have gone 13-2 in their past fifteen games and that number would be 14-1 if not for Kyle Lohse entering a certain game this last week. Even Boof Bonser, who really hasn't been too great as a starter since getting the call up, finally entered the fray.
After 6 1/3 scoreless innings last night, his starts still aren't exactly pretty. A 4.68 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .281 BAA, and 8 HRs in 32 2/3 innings is nothing to write home about. It was a good start, but something still tells me that Scott Baker should be the one in the rotation.
It begs the question in the midst of this winning streak as to why we still have mediocre starters and relievers left. Bonser is doing ok but he isn't the solution. Silva probably isn't worth that much in the rotation either. Its not that the Twins streak doesn't pull them into contention, but that there may be better options waiting in the wings and I think its key to remind fans of this.
Look at our Triple-A club. We have three very worthy arms sitting down there in Pat Neshek, Scott Baker, and J.D. Durbin. Yes, Durbin has control issues, but what you can't argue with is his ERA (2.37), his Ks (78), and that he has allowed only 67 hits in 87 1/3 innings. He is clearly back to a more dominant form and if he isn't a useful starter, he is definitely more useful in the bullpen than Kyle Lohse.
As for Neshek, he is fair game to replace Lohse or Willie Eyre. Lohse shouldn't even be with the club anymore and Eyre is a guy that probably needs a little more time in Triple-A. Neshek, on the other time, doesn't have any logical reason to be in Triple-A right now. He is, amazingly, currently 2nd in the International League with 80 Ks in 52 1/3 innings as a reliever. The "issues" with lefties that apparently were holding him back have been solved as well. As he touched on in a Q and A at Seth's site, Neshek has done much better since the beginning of the year. He dominates, walks few, strikes out many, and throws hard from a difficult angle.
Scott Baker, on the other hand, should have never been sent down. Bonser clearly isn't as polished or ready for the show as Baker. He doesn't have quite the fastball or breaking stuff or even the command and poise Baker does. Baker had a bad month, but if he was riding this winning streak with the rest of the team, it would probably do wonders for his confidence and his future. The idea is that Baker seems to have a long term future with the team, so its probably best he is up at this point. Plus, his stats in four starts don't hurt him: 2-0, 2.33 ERA, 28 Ks and 20 hits in 27 innings, 1.15 WHIP.
Of course, this by no means is meant to belittle the Twins winning ways or their game last night. They did, after all, beat a Mark Prior who looked a lot better then he did in his last start. The hitting wasn't fantastic, but Jason Kubel and Jason Bartlett continued to show their "urgency" as they got key hits in the win.
This afternoon, the Twins look to sweep the Cubs with Brad Radke on the mound against lefty Sean Marshall. Radke has looked better recently and Marshall (4-5, 4.97 ERA, 1.39) hasn't been great, so the odds look in the Twins favor.