Thursday, April 26, 2007

Four Straight

... Losses, that is. And that sadly includes two losses to the Royals. In their last six games (four against the Royals) the Twins are 2-6. Two of those losses against the Royals came with Sidney Ponson on the mound. When it comes to Ponson, there are so many ways to show how things have gone so far this year, yet the Twins are poised to give him another start because he wasn't a trainwreck against the Royals. Even that sentence felt like a joke.

Let's take a look at the numbers. So far this year, Ponson has allowed up 44 base-runners in 21 2/3 innings, a .361 OBA, six home runs, a 2.06 WHIP, 35 hits, only 12 Ks, and a 8.44 ERA. About the only good thing is his 2.19 GB/FB ratio. But who cares about getting ground balls if you're still serving up home runs left and right (he's on pace to give up 44 in only 155 innings) and have become more a batting practice pitcher than Carlos Silva was last year?

There isn't anything to be inspired by in Ponson's pitching and it's pointless to continue to hold back the Twins' youth for a guy with an 8.44 ERA. It would be difficult at this point to convince me that either Glen Perkins, Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, or Scott Baker would be this bad now or over the course of the season. Even if they were, there would at least be a defense for their struggles considering their inexperience and need to adjust to the majors. Certainly it's better to take a 8.44 while a young, talented pitcher adjusts than having it from a washed-up veteran on the 13-step program. Therefore, I am going to once again suggest that the Twins call up Baker and hand the fifth spot in the rotation to him and at least give him the same leash they have given Ponson, if not a lot more.

However, once again, my patience remains lost on the Twins hitters. They faced hefty opposition in Odalis Perez last night and managed a pathetic six hits and got nothing against a young Royals bullpen that struggles with control. (It's true that Perez had a few good years with the Dodgers, but that is a pitcher's environment that many have had success in before struggling vastly in the American League. See Park, Chan Ho.)

Particularly bad were Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau, the only power sources for the team outside of Torii Hunter. Cuddyer and Morneau combined to go 0-for-8 and left five men on. In fact, Hunter was the only Twin really hitting last night, as ripped hit a home run and a double, scoring two of the team's three runs. Otherwise, Michael Cuddyer's double-play scored a run in the seventh, but that only serves up a little taste of irony by scoring despite or because of futility.

This afternoon the Twins face Zack Greinke and hopefully they can put on some runs against him like they did last Saturday. It is absolutely imperative that they get a victory here before heading to Detroit, where they were memorably outscored 33-1 over three games in their first visit last season.

7 comments:

steve-o said...

I was happy to see Casilla standing on second in the 8th with Morneau batting.....not top ten just after that, but he'll learn.

When Castillo comes off the DL, what happens to Castilla?

Nick N. said...

Casilla will probably head back to the minors. He needs to be getting regular at-bats.

Corey Ettinger said...

The way he swings, I doubt he'll ever have a regular at bat

steve said...

I just got back to my desk and heard that KC has beaned Hunter and Bartlett. Can anyone tell me what's going on? I'm watching on gamecast, can't receive an AM tune here and for sure will be paying my $15 or whatever it is to MLB to listen to the games on the computer.

Nick N. said...

Sorry for the late response Steve. I was at the game. Hunter was hit in the mouth by Greinke, and later in the inning Bartlett was beaned. Hunter started to charge the mound and Bartlett glared after being hit, but I don't think either was intentional. Sometimes Greinke just doesn't know where the ball is going to go when it leaves his hand. The Twins never retaliated.

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