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The Bleacher Bums: May 21, 2009 Archive

The Twins Struggles Start at the Top (of the Rotation)

Posted at 12:45 PM on May 21, 2009 by David Zingler


In the midst of a 6-game losing streak, the Twins currently sit at 18-23, 6 ½ games out of first place in the AL Central. While the bullpen has (predictably) faltered, the two biggest reasons for the team's struggles so far are:

1. Scott Baker
1-5, 6.98 ERA, 38 2/3 IP, 43 H, 30 ER, 10 HR

2. Francisco Liriano
2-5, 6.04 ERA, 50 2/3 IP, 49 H, 34 ER, 25 BB

Coming into this season Baker and Liriano were expected to anchor the rotation; instead they're in the process of pitching their way out of it. Liriano has struggled with his control and confidence while Baker is leaving the ball up in the zone.

We may have to come to the sad realization that Liriano peaked during his amazing first half run in 2006 (12-3, 2.16 ERA). Right now, it's unrealistic to expect him to come close to that kind of dominance with his surgically repaired left elbow. We should however, expect better than 49 hits in 50+ innings from a guy who used to toy with hitters.

Baker is even more frustrating to me. Either the shoulder problem that landed him on the Disabled List to start the season is worse than he is letting on or he simply doesn't have his head in the game. After watching the usually reserved Rick Anderson light into Baker on Tuesday, it appears the pitching coach is convinced it's the latter.

There are still over 4 months for Baker and Liriano to get their acts together, but if they don't soon, this will be a loooooooong final summer in the Metrodome.

(Photos by Getty Images)

The Wolves get their man...sort of

Posted at 12:50 PM on May 21, 2009 by Chris Dall

A number of local and national outlets are reporting that the Timberwolves have come to the end of their search for a new GM and have settled on...David Kahn, a former executive with the Indiana Pacers. You might recall that Kahn's name was among the first to surface, but quickly disappeared, which would lead most rational observers to believe that he was not the team's first choice. Or second. Or third.

Is it any surprise that the Timberwolves would end up with a guy they apparently didn't want just a few weeks ago? Of course not. This is the Timberwolves. Clearly, Kahn was the only candidate who was willing to go along with the ridiculous stipulation that the new GM would have no say on whether Kevin McHale keeps his job. I wonder how he'll feel when he finds out McHale gets to have a say on personnel issues too.

Kahn was the GM of the Pacers for four years and also served as a special advisor to the team, but reportedly worked mostly on the business side of the operation. Reports say that he was recommended to the Wolves by NBA commissioner David Stern. Whether that's a good or bad thing, I'm not entirely sure.

I could go on and on about the dysfunction in this franchise, but I'll keep it brief. This is just another example of Glen Taylor having no idea how to run a sports franchise. If your looking for a bright side, it's that Taylor at least decided to go outside the organization, rather than letting the job fall in the laps of Fred Hoiberg or Jim Stack. Hopefully Kahn, who was with the Pacers when they were still good, can bring some common sense and order the Timberwolves front office.

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