Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Chance For Redemption

Scott Baker has been the only exception to the starting rotation's funk since the season's halfway point. His departure to the DL due to continued elbow soreness leaves behind a rather unimpressive bunch.

Here are the remaining Twins starters' marks in ERA and WHIP since the beginning of July:

Brian Duensing: 4.30 ERA / 1.33 WHIP
Francisco Liriano: 5.04 ERA / 1.66 WHIP
Carl Pavano: 5.84 ERA / 1.46 WHIP
Nick Blackburn: 7.34 ERA / 2.03 WHIP

Duensing is pacing the group with his average numbers, and from there it just deteriorates, with Blackburn -- who has amazingly allowed an average of two base runners per inning over his past seven starts -- serving as the anchor.

In other words, the bar is not set very high for Kevin Slowey.

Recalled to fill Baker's vacant rotation spot, Slowey will start in Cleveland on Sunday. I said at the beginning of the month that I felt it was "time to set this rift aside and let Slowey help the Twins again," so I'm pleased he's getting an opportunity.

And, while Twins fans might find this a sad fact, all Slowey needs to do is pitch up to his mediocre career norms (4.43 ERA and 1.29 WHIP) and he's got a chance to be the team's best starter from here on out. Given the uncertainties that currently surround the health statuses of Baker and Kyle Gibson, not to mention the competence of Carl Pavano and Nick Blackburn, trading Slowey might be a luxury the Twins can no longer afford.

If the embattled righty can pitch well down the stretch and rebuild bridges with his coaches and teammates, it would provide a meaningful positive development as this mercilessly awful season winds down.


Ed Bast said...

I'm confident Slowey can step right in and be the completely mediocre back-of-the-rotation finesse pitcher the Twins treasure. He'll give you 5 strong innings almost every time out usually with less than 3 HR allowed. He won't win you many games, but more importantly, he won't walk too many guys!

SadPanda said...

I've always liked Slowey and I've agreed with Nick that he should have been in the starting rotation all the long. Hopefully he has a good performance and shows what he is made of.

Matt said...

Due to his ability to change speeds, I thought Slowey would develop into a guy who could miss bats in a rotation otherwise filled by wannabe sinker ballers.
He hasn't delivered on that yet.
Will he now? Now that he has a chance to prove himself to MLB teams and the Twins?
We'll see, but I'm not holding my breath...

Anonymous said...

I love the sarcasm Ed! Unfortunately it's only too true! I've always liked Blackburn better than Slowey, but Blackburn hits this stretch every year where he's just terrible. I really don't see how he can stay in the rotation - if/when Baker comes back. This rotation clearly needs a major injection of talent before next season!
At least Morneau seems like he is doing really well at AAA Rochester and seems ready to play next week.

USAFChief said...

Hopefully Slowey can reestablish himself in the Twins 2012 plans. I've always liked him, he has a stellar minor league track record, and I think he's a better pitcher than Blackburn, Pavano, and probably Duensing.

Diesel said...

He should have been in the rotation in April. I like Slowey and I really hate how the Twins have treated him. Hopefully the burnt bridges can be rebuilt. Now being a great time for construction.

Kelly said...

Not to give up on the season, but I'm pretty much thinking of next year.

Morneau and Mauer have a chance to find their swings and get back to 2009 numbers. Kubel and Cuddy stay. Maybe Delmon too, as that adds a RH bat with power, unless the Twins are satisfied with Valencia and move Young for a stud pitcher. The Twins had arguably the best hitting lineup in baseball in 2009. Same guys back and maybe healthy for once. I think they may have used up all their bad luck this year.

That said, pitching will determine how far this team goes. With five so so starters and one flamer that can't control himself, they need to sign a couple top of the rotation guys. 4.50 ERAs don't get it done. Every pitcher is fair game for a trade. They'll keep Pavano through his contract, as a workhorse, and should keep Duenslinger as a competant lefty. Perkins might move back to the rotation.

Move or offer arb to Blackie, Mijares, Capps, Burnett, Baker and we will see how Kevin does down the stretch. Resign Joe Nathan. He is back.

Anonymous said...

I hope Slowey gets a standing O when he takes the mound in the first. He's been mistreated by the organization. Do they want their starters to take an aw shucks attitude to being demoted to the bullpen? Get competitive.

Anonymous said...

I am a perpetual optimist, but this Twins team has been absolutely awful to watch. Even when they were winning games in June, they still gave a couple away for no real reason.

In baseball, it's all about how you lose. If you lose a close games on a timely hit here and there, you can live with it. But, the way this team has thrown the ball around, failed to move the guy over, etc. has been painful to watch.

Amazingly (to me anyway) the two best players on the club are Scott Baker and Michael Cuddyer...and now Baker is toast.

I can't watch Valencia strike out on outside pitches anymore. I can't watch Delmon roll over balls down the middle of the plate. I can't watch Nishioka period... it sucks.

And, I don't care what anyone says, Nick Blackburn has never thrown a sinker in his life. He throws a very very average two-seamer that does very little and only travels at roughly 88 mph. Watch early 2000s Derek Lowe for what an actual sinker is.

I'm a die-hard Twins fan, and this year has been worse for me than the pre-almost ocntracted days of...well everyone remembers Lew Ford.