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.