Posted at 8:25 PM on July 9, 2008
by Chris Dall
Here are some ugly numbers from today's game:
4.1 innings, 11 hits, 6 earned runs. That would be Livan Hernandez's starting line.
3.2 innings, 12 hits, 11 earned runs. That would be the collective line of today's bullpen crew--Bonser, Breslow, Bass and Reyes.
It's too bad, because today's effort provides a bitter bookend to what had been a pretty stellar run of pitching. Since the Chicago massacre in early June, the Twins starting pitchers have put together some eye-opening numbers. Kevin Slowey is 4-1 with a 3.79 era, 5 walks and 34 strikeouts. Scott Baker is 3-2 with a 2.61 era, 8 walks and 32 strikeouts. Nick Blackburn is 3-0 with a 3.16 era, 2 walks and 18 strikeouts. And Glenn Perkins is 3-0 with 3.90 era, 6 walks and 20 strikeouts.
In this day and age, especially in the American League, that's a pretty spectacular month of starting pitching. The big question is can the starters keep it up? If they can't, Steve and others are right that the Twins are going to need some relief help. Reyes and Nathan have been the backbone, but I'm concerned that Reyes has thrown 24 innings already, when he pitched 29 all of last year. And if this series in Boston is any indication, Guerrier and Crain might not be up to the task of getting the big outs in the pressure of a pennant race.
So who's out there? Brian Fuentes of the Rockies is the big name you hear, but the Twins will have to take a number behind several other teams. Ron Mahay of the Royals will also be much sought after. But do the Twins have enough to get either guy?
Of course, they could stay in house and bring back this guy.
I almost forgot about The Franchise. Would the Twins consider using him in the bullpen? I think he could help the team in that role, but I don't see it happening.
Well if Livan keeps pitching like he did yesterday, you'd think they'd have to consider bringing him back as a starter if they're still in the race.