Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Out-Dueled

Despite his battles with injuries and some surprising early performances from other hurlers, I have continually pushed Scott Baker as the best starter in the Twins rotation this season. Last night, he certainly looked the part, ending a string of ugly outings from Twins starters by holding the Indians to one run over seven innings of work. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to end the Twins' current losing streak, as the offense came up empty against C.C. Sabathia in a crushing 1-0 loss.

Now, to be fair, Sabathia's 4.81 ERA entering last night's game did not reflect how well he has pitched for the majority of the season. After starting the season 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA and 14-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his first four games, Sabathia had bounced back nicely, going 3-5 with a 2.38 ERA and 68-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in nine starts since. Last night, Sabathia gave up a few hits early, but settled in after giving up a single to Joe Mauer in the third and retired 17 straight batters, cruising through the ninth inning with a shutout and an impressively low pitch count.

The Twins managed just five hits in the game, all singles and none after the fourth inning. Two of the hits came on bunts, and the Twins did not draw a walk in the game. Tonight they will throw Nick Blackburn against Paul Byrd, a pitcher whom they have historically struggled against. Let's hope they can get some better results and worked their way out of this skid.