Thursday, May 17, 2007

Another Dismal Offensive Effort

Yesterday, I wrote that I believed the offense was showing signs of life. Perhaps I was wrong. That, or the Twins and their fans should pray that the team no longer has to face any left-handers this year. That isn't about to happen though. As last night showed, against a pitcher like C.C. Sabathia, the Twins simply aren't doing very much at all. When comments like "Lew Ford was called up to give the team some power from the right side" can be made about your offense, something is clearly wrong.

However, as I've said in recent posts, the offensive ineptitude really isn't news to anyone paying attention. Instead, the new development is with struggling pitchers. In Tuesday night's game, it was Ramon Ortiz who struggled, lasting only one inning. Last night, it was Carlos Silva. Silva did pitch six innings, but he also gave up five runs, seven hits, and walked three while only striking out two.

Silva didn't give up too many hits, at least by his standards, but his control was not great at all and ten base-runners is simply too many to comfortably allow against the Cleveland Indians offense. His ERA is still good at 3.56, but this was really Silva's first truly bad start of 2007.

Worse than Silva, though, was Dennys Reyes, who continued to provide evidence that his 2006 season was a giant fluke. If Silva had little control, Reyes had no concept of a strike zone. After entering in the seventh, he quickly gave up a hit and two walks before getting two outs, giving up a run, and giving up the mound to Pat Neshek. True, a 6.00 ERA in May isn't death for a reliever, but he has walked 9 batters in 12 innings while giving up 16 hits, giving him a terrible 2.08 WHIP. He still has struck out 10 hitters, but thats nothing new for Reyes' career. He has a career 1.63 K/BB ratio and a 1.43 K/BB ratio this year.

In 2005, Reyes posted a 35/32 K/BB ratio in 43 2/3 innings and in 2002, it was 59/45 in 82 2/3 innings. In other words, it would certainly seem that the old Reyes has returned. If that's the truth, the Twins need to be worried and need to consider making a move to bring up a guy like Ricky Barrett.

Lastly in bad pitching news, Jesse Crain's diagnosis appears to be very bad. In his post-game news conference, Ron Gardenhire noted that a doctor had diagnosed Crain with a torn labrum and a torn rotator cuff. The Twins will seek a second opinion, but regardless, Crain will not be out for only 15 days. In fact, it's likely that he'll now join Francisco Liriano in sitting out the seaon after surgery. If you recall, Brad Radke had a very similar injury and generally, it takes a year or more to return from such surgery.

As mentioned in my last post, Crain's loss is not the worst thing that can happen to the Twins, but it certainly creates a void in their bullpen, which has been key to almost all the success they've had this year. Despite Jorge DePaula's scoreless inning major-league debut, replacing a good Crain will be difficult.

The best news for the Twins? Today, Johan Santana is on the mound, giving the Twins the best chance they've had to win all series. Too bad they go up against Fausto Carmona, who's pretty hot right now. Hopefully, the Twins' bad luck leaves with me, as I take off to vacation in Virginia for a few days. Mr. Nelson should take over posting, unless he cannot secure a hard-line in Brewerville. In that case, I may have to return sooner.