-Scott Baker continues to turn in dismal performances on the road, proving both his youth and inexperience. In the eleven starts Baker has made this year on the road, not counting yesterday’s, he has acquired an ERA of 4.46, a WHIP of 1.319, and over one home run allowed per game.
Not the best stats, but not horrible either. He had one great start on the road; on June 10th at Cleveland where he went eight full innings giving up only one run on eight hits. Other than that, Baker has been solid against strong teams yet strangely inept against inferior teams. That isn’t the way things are supposed to work, are they?
Baker has the best stuff on this young Minnesota rotation, yet even he has a long way to go before he blossoms. While his poor starts this year are painful to watch, try to think with a positive perspective: his great starts are only a taste of what is to come.
Tonight was not a pretty night for Baker and Minnesota. Baker went a solid six and two/thirds innings and threw 105 pitches. If he can do that every night I would be pleased. Tonight, Baker was roughed up badly. He constantly fell behind batters and shouldn’t have escaped with only three earned runs allowed. He gave up ten hits and got himself out of one bases-loaded jam but required Craig Breslow’s help to get out of another.
Simply put, he was not solid at all against the worst team in baseball. The offense shares some of the blame for the loss as they should have scored more than two runs against the M’s, but Baker cannot pitch like he did tonight and expect to get his team wins. Just like I said about Liriano earlier, if Baker pitches like this against Boston, Tampa Bay, or Anaheim, he will get beaten around much worse than tonight.
Minnesota pitchers have been extremely lucky this year, yet my theory of what goes around comes around hasn’t really shown up yet. I hate to be the pessimist, but I expect it will. The road to the playoffs is a tough one.
-The reliving staff did a fantastic job in the second game against Seattle. Baker found himself on the mound with the bases loaded and two away with Twins-killer Raul Ibanez stepping to the plate. Not a pretty situation. Gardy called on Craig Breslow, (who I think should be utilized way more than he currently is), who proceeded to retire Ibanez on a fly-ball to right field on an 86 mph slider.
Matt Guerrier came on to pitch the eighth inning for the Twins and threw 14 pitches before retiring the side.
-The offense was pathetic tonight, much like the starting pitching. This is the weakest team in baseball. The Mariners are only one game from elimination and it isn’t even September yet. Not only that, but Ryan Rowland-Smith was on the mound for the M’s. Nothing against him, but he isn’t the best pitcher in the world by a long shot. He is a 25 year-old Australian and Seattle fans are more concerned about his trade value than the future of him on the team.
No Twin had multiple hits, and the whole team only managed to get on base nine times. Only two Twins had extra base hits; Morneau with a double and Ruiz with a solo-shot in the sixth inning. That home run was basically the only bright spot when talking about the offensive performance tonight. As said above, yuck.
I could go on and on about how much this team stinks, but I shouldn’t and won’t. This is only the fourth loss in a row and the Twins are only two games behind the Sox in the division. Chicago has tough series with the Red Sox, Angels, Yankees, and hopefully the Blue Jays and Twins before they can wrap up the 2008 campaign, so this thing isn’t over yet.