I am one of Scott Baker’s biggest defenders, yet even I admit that sometimes he is extraordinarily frustrating to watch. You never really know which Scott Baker is going to show up on any given night. You might get the one who 2-hit the Rockies tonight, or you might get the one who was pounded for five runs on nine hits in just four innings against the Tigers. Sometimes you even get a combination of both: he’ll cruise along through seven innings, then just completely fall apart with little warning. Still, Baker has been a solid starter worth 3.5 fWAR every year since 2008, so it isn’t as though he’s terrible or anything. He’s also 29 years old and has been pitching in the major leagues since 2005, so those who keep expecting him to become an ace are just going to continue to be disappointed; this is as good as Baker is going to get.
Daniel Valencia, .066 WPA. Danny Boy went 2-3 and drove in a run. He collected his first extra-base hit, too, a double off of Belisle in the seventh. He didn’t strike out for a change, which is great, though he didn’t draw any walks, either.
Justin Morneau, -.114. The Mountie is coming back down to earth a bit, batting just .200/.293/.314 in the past 14 days. Of course his overall .344/.455/.624 line is still pretty good.
Scott Baker, .430 WPA. In what has been the finest performance by a Twins’ starter all year, T. Scott gave up just two hits in seven innings, while striking out 12 and walking just one.
Matt Guerrier, -.155 WPA. The Mayor did his best to give the lead back, giving up a double to the leadoff batter and then hitting the next guy he faced. The only out he recorded was on a sacrifice bunt.
Most important play of the game:
Joe Mauer’s failure to block Mijares’ slider in the dirt, which scored Seth Smith and cut the Twins’ lead in half, .078 WPA.