Many people predicted that the Twins would have a hard time competing this season because of the weak back part of their rotation -- namely: Ramon Ortiz, Sidney Ponson and Carlos Silva. In April, Ortiz and Silva were surprisingly solid while Ponson managed to show some promise. May, however, has been a different story. These three pitchers have been everything we'd feared they would be, and the Twins have gone 1-9 in the 10 games they've started this month. Ponson was released just over a week ago after struggling through seven starts, and now Ortiz looks like he may be next in line after posting an 11.74 ERA and 2.28 WHIP over his past four outings. Silva held out longer than either of the other two, but now it looks like he too may be falling apart.
Silva got the start against the Rangers yesterday in a game the Twins ended up losing 14-4. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings while giving up nine hits and seven earned runs. His ERA rose to 4.47 and his record dropped to 2-5. After Silva came out of the game, rookie Julio DePaula very well may have earned his ticket back to Rochester, putting the game well out of reach with an atrocious outing. DePaula was shelled for seven runs (six earned) on six hits and three walks in just one inning. Silva and DePaula combined to let in 14 runs on 15 hits, three walks and three home runs.
It is becoming increasingly evident that the Twins cannot be a winning ballclub if they continue to start Ortiz and Silva in 40 percent of their games. I wrote recently that Silva's early success seemed somewhat sustainable and I maintain that he could probably be a serviceable No. 5 pitcher in this rotation, but when coupled with Ortiz his struggles become magnified. Meanwhile, Kevin Slowey holds a 1.76 ERA down in Triple-A and Glen Perkins (who will be out for a couple weeks after injuring a muscle last night) has posted a 3.80 out of the Twins' bullpen. There's no guarantee that either of these pitchers would be able to step into the Twins' rotation and light the world on fire, and even if they did there's no guarantee that the Twins would become a competitive team because they play in such a difficult division and because their offense has proven to be so dreadfully inconsistent. Yet, installing a Slowey or a Perkins would at least give fans a promising young player to get excited about watching every five days. Right now, it's becoming difficult to look forward to games started by Ortiz and Silva which have almost literally become guaranteed losses.