A year ago, Minnesota Twins fans had some excitement flowing about their starting rotation. That excitement should have flowed. Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco were splurges in the free agent pool that were a rarity and both had some great potential to do great things with the Twins in 2014. It turned out to be a tale of two seasons.
Hughes had a marvelous season and would’ve been a Cy Young candidate if he had played for a team that wasn’t a 90-loss suck-fest. Nolasco contributed a lot more to the suck-fest then Hughes did.
In complete honesty, both pitchers probably missed what their typical marks will be. Hughes overachieved and Nolasco underachieved. We simply can’t expect Hughes to be as amazingly great as he was in 2014, but he’ll still be solid. It’s a big deal getting him out of Yankee Stadium and into Target Field.
Nolasco will improve. He has to. He can’t get a whole lot worse than what he was a year ago, right?
It’s important for the Twins to get Nolasco to a competent state. Right now the Twins have two more than dependable pitchers in Hughes and the new addition of Ervin Santana. These two will always (you know what I mean) give the Twins a chance to win.
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That’s two out of every five games. That’s a 64-98 record assuming a team will win two out of every five. We know that the concept of winning every start for a starting pitcher and losing every start for another doesn’t work. It’s all fluid, but it all averages out. Phil Hughes will lose a game he should have won and Mike Pelfrey will win one he should have lost.
The magic of an improved Nolasco would almost flip that 64-98 record.
With a third solid starter a team goes from losing 3/5 of their games to winning 3/5 of their games. A 1/5 doesn’t seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but over the course of an MLB season that fifth is what separates the playoff teams from the 90-loss teams.
Now it doesn’t need to be Nolasco necessarily. It can be any of the other three in the starting rotation. It can be Kyle Gibson, it can Alex Meyer and it can be a pitching machine if the rules allow it.
I’m not trying to say that the Twins are one starting pitcher away from a 96-66 record, but it sure wouldn’t hurt. It would flip the switch to on for the first time in years.