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The Bleacher Bums: July 9, 2007 Archive

Midterms, Part II: The Pitchers

Posted at 9:02 AM on July 9, 2007 by David Zingler

The Rotation
Johan Santana (10-6, 2.75 ERA, 125K/30BB, 1.03 WHIP)
He’s still the best and should be even better in the second half. I see Cy Young No. 3 in his future.
Grade: A-

Boof Bonser (5-6, 4.70 ERA, 95K/41BB, 1.49 WHIP)
Solid, but not a top-of-the-rotation kind of guy. Like Bartlett and Kubel on offense, the Twins need a good second half from Booooof.
Grade: C

Carlos Silva (6-10, 4.58 ERA, 46K/23BB, 1.40 WHIP)
Not as horrible as last year, but not as good as 2004 and 2005 either.
Grade: C

Scott Baker (3-3, 5.71 ERA, 41K/12BB, 1.37 WHIP)
Great sometimes, horrible at others, Baker has held onto his job. A more consistent second half would solidify his spot in the rotation.
Grade: C+

5th Starter
We’ve been through Sidney Ponson, Baker for awhile, Kevin Slowey and now, Matt Garza. Long live Garza!
Grade: D-

The ‘Pen
Matt Guerrier (1.70 ERA, 53 IP/34 hits, 0.89 WHIP, 6 holds)
Great numbers, maybe he needs to start a blog to get some recognition.
Grade: A

Pat Neshek (1.70 ERA, 42.1 IP/18 hits, .73 WHIP, 8 holds)
Could he be the first ever middle reliever to be overexposed?
Grade: A

Ramon Ortiz (3-4, 5.35 ERA, 32K/12BB, 1.42 WHIP)
Began the year on a tear in the rotation, now you almost forget he’s on the team.
Grade: D

Dennys Reyes (3.86 ERA, 21 IP/25 hits, 1.71 WHIP, 5 holds)
Not really sure what to think of Reyes, although he’s been much better since returning from the shoulder injury.
Grade: C

Juan Rincon (3.98 ERA, 31.2 IP/35 hits, 1.61 WHIP, 8 holds)
Not the same guy we’ve seen the past few years. Possible trade bait?
Grade: C

Joe Nathan (2.17 ERA, 37.1 IP/35 hits, 1.18 WHIP, 16/18 saves)
He’s converting nearly all of his save opportunities and the ERA looks good, but the hits to innings pitched ratio is concerning.
Grade: B

Twins break, can they be fixed?

Posted at 1:17 PM on July 9, 2007 by Steve Rudolph

After exploding for 32 runs against the White Sox on Friday, the Twins managed just four runs the rest of the weekend and stumbled into the All Star Break with a 45-43 record leaving them eight games out of first in the Central and seven back in the wild card chase.

That might be a better position than the team was in last year at this time when it trailed by 11, but the task looks far more daunting when you look at the lineup that’s been assembled for the stretch drive.

Star Tribune beat writer La Velle E. Neal, III had an interesting item yesterday where he stated that the Twins inexperienced pitching staff is as big of a problem as their erratic and often anemic lineup, which sometimes features Jason Tyner as the designated hitter. I love La Velle’s insights, but he’s wrong.

Sure a staff that relies on so many youngsters poses a huge hurdle. However, the fact that the Twins can’t field a consistently productive lineup is what will keep them out of postseason play.

Improving the Twins deficiencies at third base, DH and left field (or even two of those three) will not only result in more wins in the second half, it might help the young starters develop faster by removing some of the pressure to make every single pitch perfect.

Review some of the games that got away on this last road trip and you’ll find hitting was a bigger issue than inconsistent young pitching for this team. (It’s also worth noting that the team's most inconsistent starter has been veteran Carlos Silva.)

Scott Baker pitched a complete game gem in Detroit but lost 1-0. Boof Bonser kept the team in the game against future hall-of-famer Roger Clemens, but the Twins couldn’t put a run on teh board despite the fact that “The Rocket” was struggling early. Bonser also gave the team nice outing against the Sox on Saturday, but the club couldn’t touch Mark Buehrle and fell 3-1.

Despite having a younger staff than in recent years, the Twins formula for success hasn't changed and the proof of that can be found in the team’s game notes. When the Twins score four or more runs, they are 37-12. When they fail to plate four in a game, they are paltry 8-31 this season.

For there to be meaningful games to watch at the Dome in August and September, Terry Ryan needs to make a move and add the veteran bat or two that can help this team score four or more runs on a more consistent basis.

The trouble with being a fan. Players and owners treat the game like a business

Posted at 4:47 PM on July 9, 2007 by Tom Scheck

Let me be clear. I love Torii Hunter. I love his defense. I like the fact that he questions his teammates about their commitment (see Mourneau a few years ago and Mauer this year). I also like that he swings at first pitches (Well, maybe that makes me grimace a bit).

But here's what I don't like. Hunter treating every major league city like a potential job interview. Here's the deal (in case you live under a rock) -- Hunter is a free agent this year and is in demand. His latest comments came over the weekend to the Daily South Town on how well he plays in Chicago. That's after his comments to the New York media here and here about his love for Yankee Stadium and how the fans know the game. There's also discussion about him going to the Rangers.

This story may show one reason for Hunter's self professed joy for all of these great ballparks. It basically says the Twins are reluctant to negotiate with Hunter. This comes at a time when Hunter is in the top tier of free agents to be.

Now I'm old enough to know that dollars and cents play a factor in the decisions that players and ball clubs make. But it still stinks. Imagine being an eight year old kid who loves to see Torii flying around center field in the Metrodome? What is he/she supposed to think when Hunter leaves for another ballpark? It makes me wonder whether a fan's loyalty stays with the team that does everything it can to win (see Red Sox Nation, see Yankees owner, see Dallas Cowboys, see Detroit Red Wings).

This leads to the next question: Will the Twins trade Torii for some prospects? Sigh. All of this Torii talk makes me yearn for a more stable situation like, say, Johan Santana. What? He's a free-agent next year? Are the Twins more like the Yankees or the Royals? That palace behind the Target Center could get awfully lonely if Joe and his sidekicks (or should I say sideburns) are the only ones playing.

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