Pitching Perspectives (4/13-4/19)

The Twins finished the second week of the season with a 4-3 record putting them at 7-7 on the season.  They are currently 4th place in the division 1.0 game behind the Tigers, White Sox and Royals.

Minnesota

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC

ERA

WHIP

Scott Baker

4.0

5

6

6

2

3

4

61

13.50

1.75

Francisco Liriano

6.0

7

2

1

1

5

0

104

1.50

1.33

Nick Blackburn

6.1

8

4

4

2

3

0

106

5.69

1.58

Kevin Slowey

5.1

13

5

5

1

2

2

88

 

 

 

7.0

6

2

2

1

5

1

114

5.11

1.70

Glen Perkins

8.0

7

2

2

1

4

0

107

 

 

 

8.0

4

1

1

1

4

0

84

1.69

0.81

Totals:

44.2

50

22

21

9

26

7

 

4.23

1.32

Scott Baker (0-1) pitched Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays and Scott Richmond.  Making his first start of the season and coming off the DL it was reasonable to expect some rust.  He was catching too much of the plate too much of the time.  The end result was 4 home runs allowed and a 12-2 loss.  Baker threw 72.1% of his pitches for strikes but many of them were not quality strikes.  The Twins don’t have a lot of margin for error, especially the way the bullpen is going, so Baker needs to get up and running without delay.

Francisco Liriano (0-3) pitched Thursday in the 9-2 loss against Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays.  Halladay was brilliant, but Liriano was pretty good in his own right.  He threw 62.5% of his pitches for strikes and was far more effective in his 3rd start of the year.  The 9-2 loss can be laid at the feet of the bullpen which allowed 7 runs in 3.0 innings of work.

Nick Blackburn (0-1) pitched Friday against the Angels and had his 3rd poor start in a row.  He threw 64.2% of his pitches for strikes while letting far too many men on base.  To be effective, Blackburn needs to get his WHIP down into the 1.2 range.  He’s a better pitcher than what he has shown.  Despite the poor outing, the Twins managed to win 11-9.

Kevin Slowey (2-0) pitched Monday against the Blue Jays and Saturday against the Angels.  In his 1st start of the week, Slowey got hammered while throwing 76.1% of his pitches for strikes.  Like Baker, Slowey was getting too much of the plate en route to giving up 13 hits in 5.1 innings pitched.  He corrected a mechanical flaw he saw watching tape and came back to throw an excellent game in his 2nd start.  Against the Angels on Saturday, he threw 66.7% of his pitches for strikes, kept his WHIP down and was able to increase his strikeout total in the process.

Glen Perkins (1-1) pitched Tuesday against the Blue Jays and Sunday against the Angels.  He went 8.0 innings in both games while throwing 65.4% of his pitches for strikes.  What Perkins did this week is the main reason why the Twins will remain in the divisional race for the entire season.  In 16.0 innings pitched he allowed only 11 hits and 3 runs.  Most importantly, he allowed the struggling bullpen to rest and kept everyone not named Joe Nathan off the mound.

Rotation Assessment:  Getting 24.0 IP from your 5th starter in 3 starts over the first two weeks of the season covers up a lot of deficiencies on the rest of your roster.  Liriano and Slowey showed some signs of life.  Baker is back from his DL stint and got his predictably shaky 1st start out of the way.  Blackburn hasn’t been terrible in his 3 starts this season, but he hasn’t been good in any of them either.  A staff 4.23 ERA and 1.32 WHIP for the week isn’t spectacular, but it is certainly good enough to get the job done on most nights.  Not only is it an improvement over their week 1 ERA of 5.40 and WHIP of 1.34, but it is the type of week we can expect to see from them routinely during the season.  The best news of all is that this staff is capable of much more.

The Bullpen:

 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

WHIP

Luis Ayala (R)

3.1

7

4

4

2

2

1

10.81

2.70

Craig Breslow (L)

1.1

0

2

2

3

1

0

13.53

2.26

Jesse Crain (R)

3.1

2

4

4

3

3

0

10.81

1.50

R.A. Dickey (R)

3.2

7

2

2

2

4

1

4.90

2.45

Matt Guerrier (R)

3.0

7

6

6

1

3

1

18.00

2.67

Philip Humber (R)

1.2

5

3

3

1

1

0

16.17

3.59

Juan Morillo (R)

1.0

1

0

0

0

1

0

0.00

1.00

Joe Nathan (R)

3.0

0

0

0

1

3

0

0.00

0.33

Totals:

20.1

29

21

21

13

18

3

9.30

2.07

Thank goodness for Joe Nathan and the newly acquired Juan Morillo who were the lone members of the bullpen able to avoid a disastrous outing during the week.

In the first week the bullpen had a 4.66 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.  The second week saw those numbers almost double.  The Twins bullpen will probably remain the weakness of the team for the entire season, but will be hard pressed to have another week quite as bad.  Despite the atrocious week by the pen, the Twins still went 4-3.

Topics: AL Central, Minnesota Twins, MLB

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