Thursday, June 14, 2007

Silva's Gem

Two encouraging things happened in last night's game. For one, the Twins offense did well against a good younger starter in Chuck James and showed a rare display of power with three home runs. Secondly, Carlos Silva also pitched a great game, earning a complete-game shutout and his fourth win of the season. Today I'll talk a bit about the second one.

In his last start, Carlos Silva wasn't particularly pretty against the pathetic Washington Nationals offense. In that start, he gave up nine hits and seven runs in three innings and looked like Silva v. 2006. Last night, he certainly looked like version 2005, throwing the Twins' first shutout since Johan Santana shut down the Oakland Athletics on August 12, 2005. In nine innings last night, Silva allowed eight hits, struck out two, and walked none while posting a 15-9 GB/FB ratio. Certainly reminiscent of his best 2005 season.

Such a performance should leave Twins fans hopeful. After all, Silva has now lowered his ERA to a perfectly respectable 4.07 ERA, despite his 4-7 record. Of course, it should be pointed out that even with last night's performance, Silva hasn't yet solved his major problem in 2007: inconsistency. Silva has had six starts this year in which he has thrown five innings or more and given up two or less runs. He has also had seven starts in which he has given up three or more runs, with two starts in which he gave up seven runs and one in which he gave up five. In April, he had a 3.10 ERA. In May, he had a 5.28 ERA. So far, in June, he has a 3.60 ERA.

In looking at his numbers so far, Silva's performance does not look like his 2005 season and certainly not his 2006 season. Instead, his performance has been reminiscent of his 2004, when he was 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA overall. Silva showed similar inconsistency in 2004. While he had a 1.72 ERA in September, a 3.76 June ERA, and a 4.02 April ERA, he also had a 5.46 ERA in July, a 5.14 ERA in May, and a 4.98 ERA in August.

Currently, Silva has been a little better than he was in 2004, as his ERA is lower and he has allowed a .288 BAA, versus .310 in 2004. He also is striking out a few more batters, as his 3.62 K/9 rate is his highest since he was a reliever in 2003. Therefore, if this is the Silva we get the rest of the year, he will be doing far more than many, including myself, expected of him. He likely will never repeat his impressive 2005 season, but even if he is inconsistent, he can be a fine contributor to the team over the course of the season and will be more than worth the $4 million we are paying him this year (considering that money that was shelled out to pitchers like Jeff Weaver). This is precisely what he showed that last night.

10 comments:

Baseball_Lipgloss said...

I have been noticing amongst the various blogs the Love him or Hate him theory regarding Silva. I still think there is a chance for Silva.

Nick M. said...

I wasn't trying to push a "love him or hate him" theory so much as to point out that despite the fact he might remain inconsistent this year, the way he was in 2004, that would be perfectly accepted. If he does that, he'll be more than worth the $4 million we are paying him this year. I meant for the post to be more positive by pointing out that he did similar things in 2004, which was a pretty good season for him, and that even if he is inconsistent and never matches his 2005 season, it isn't that big of a deal and that he should be a solid contributor to the Twins this year.

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JimCrikket said...

It's true people seem to either love Silva or hate him. It all comes down to expectations. His 2005 led people to believe he was going to replicate that kind of year in 2006 and when that didn't happen (to say the least), boy did fans turn on him.

If you think of him as a serviceable 3rd starter (who you would expect to be a bit inconsistent), he's doing just fine and is a bargain considering the price of pitching these days.

Nick M. said...

Precisely.

Baseball_Lipgloss said...

I wasn't pointing out any particular blogs (maybe a little bit of my own) and their views but more of how with Silva being unstable our opinions are also unstable (mine are generally pessimistic.) I am the first to admit that when Silva does badly I shrug as if to say "Are we surprised?"
You are right, last night our offense was being tested against a good pitcher and they delivered. Let’s see what they can do against Hudson tonight.

Nick M. said...

Sounds like we might have a pitching duel. Then again, Hudson hasn't been even close to his April numbers (3-0, 1.40 ERA) since, posting a 4.35 ERA in May and a 11.25 ERA so far in June. In fact, at the end of May, he had a 2.77 ERA and it has already shot up to 3.51 so far in June.

However, despite not pitching against Minnesota since going to Atlanta after the 2003 season, Hudson has scary career numbers against the Twins: 6-2, 2.30 ERA in 86 innings, with 73 Ks. Good thing Hudson hasn't been quite the same pitcher since.

WV said...

I'm conjuring up some of that Tim Hudson smackdown magic from games 1 and 4 of the '02 ALDS.

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