Posted at 1:42 PM on April 28, 2009
by Chris Dall
We all know that it's still only April, and there's a lot of season left, but nonetheless, the top of the Twins rotation isn't inspiring much confidence right now. And Scott Baker's 6 hit, 4 run performance last night against the Rays doesn't make me feel too much better.
Although it's damning him with faint praise, last night was easily Baker's best performance. Despite taking his third loss on the season, he did make it through 6 innings, didn't give up any home runs (after giving up 7 in his first two starts), and struck 7. Woo hoo! Gardy called it a "step in the right direction." We'll see.
It would also be nice to see step in the right direction by the defacto ace of the staff, Francisco Liriano, who takes the mound tonight against Tampa. Liriano currently stands at 0-4 with a 7.06 ERA, and has shown few of the flashes of dominance that we've seen in the past. Unlike Baker, Liriano's problem is control, and walks are killing him this year. He also has a tendency to lose focus when things start going wrong, which makes you wonder if he has the head to be a true ace.
The struggles of Baker and Liriano of course put more pressure on Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, and Glenn Perkins. They seem to be holding up fairly well so far. But the bigger concern is what regular 5-inning outings by the 1 and 2 starters will do to the bullpen, which was the weak point going into the season. I'm not sure Twins fans can stomach seeing Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, and R.A. Dickey on a regular basis.
Maybe the Twins should try signing this kid.