The Twins lost 4-3 in New York tonight, with all four of the Yankees' runs coming on homers against Scott Baker. I know a lot of fans are upset about the bombs, which came on grooved pitches to Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada, but those weren't the real issue for the Twins' starter. Heck, two is about where we should set the over/under for homers allowed by an opposing starter at Yankee Stadium.
No, the mistakes I would point to would be the runners Baker put on base beforehand. He preceded Rodriguez's home run by plunking Mark Teixeira with an 0-2 pitch, and preceded Posada's shot by issuing a lead-off walk to Nick Swisher in the next inning. It's those sorts of lapses -- and not the home runs -- that will determine Baker's fate this season.
By now, we've come to accept Baker for what he is: a fly ball pitcher through-and-through who gives up home runs. It's always been the case, and while it would be nice if he could reinvent himself as someone who isn't so susceptible to the long ball that's not very likely.
Baker can succeed in spite of this flaw. The key is limiting base runners so the damage from those homers is minimized. In 2008, the righty posted a 3.48 ERA despite allowing 20 home runs over 172 innings. We can largely attribute the positive results to his outstanding 1.18 WHIP. Last year, Baker posted a 1.34 WHIP -- the worst full-season mark of his career. It only follows that he also posted his worst full-season ERA (while allowing homers at the exact same rate he's allowed them throughout his career).
The home runs weren't what sunk the Twins tonight. If Baker doesn't give first base to Teixeira and Swisher, he leaves the game with a 3-2 lead.