I am starting to feel sick again. The Twins constantly make me feel like I am riding on one hell of a roller coaster.
We are now officially 1/3 of the way through the season and the beginning of June adds another year to my brother’s age, it is also about the time that teams start making moves based on lack of performance. The Twins have started making some moves, but like always, their’s seem to be made more out of lack of depth than true lack of stats. Ultimately though Minnesota is 5 games ahead of where they were this time last year, sitting at 25-29 compared to 19-33.
The first move based solely on performance was the demotion of Vance Worley. Yes the same pitcher that was tabbed as the Opening Day starter when Diamond was not ready to return. After 10 starts he was sitting over 7 in ERA with a 1-5 record. I agree with it but am wondering what is keeping them from making the same move with Pelfrey? With 1 more start, Mike has a 3-6 record and almost a 7 ERA. If it wasn’t obvious, the biggest problem last year is still the same this year. STARTING PITCHING is atrocious but I will admit when I was wrong. I thought going into the season that Correia would be one of the weaker additions and he has been the strongest. Kevin is leading the starters in W, IP, and ERA. But the epitome of our staff is explained by who is leading the team in Ks, and that would be Glen Perkins, the closer.
Another move that was just made was designating Tyler Robertson (1 IP, 9 ERa, 2 Ks) for assignment and recalling Clete Thomas. The same Thomas that was claimed last year from Detroit and played for less than a month and then sent to Rochester. I don’t get why Robertson was designated for a career sub .250 hitter in a crowded OF while making the bullpen even thinner when it is already over worked? The bullpen is 5th in IP while still being 4th in ERA so far, and that will not hold up with our starting pitching. We already have Hicks, Willingham, Parmelee, Doumit, and Herrmann that can all play OF. Unless Wilkin Ramirez is getting moved to the 15 day DL or longer for his concussion, it makes no sense. Also, the same time that they made that move, Chris Colabello was sent back to Rochester also. Why take the chance of losing Roberstson, and sending Colabello down for Thomas? Yes he has been hitting well in AAA Rochester but so was Colabello.
My moves that I would start looking to make:
Mike Pelfrey for Kyle Gibson
Clete Thomas for Oswaldo Arcia
Gibson needs to get a chance before he uses up too many of his innings considering he is on an inning count for the season. He has also shown that he has been able to handle AAA hitting (not dominate it). Thomas I don’t feel is the answer for a supposedly thin OF right now and Arcia is already on the 40 man roster. Ideally he would have been promoted instead of Thomas and Roberston would still be here (not saying the he will be claimed, but there is a chance he isn’t part of this organization soon).
Trades are looking less and less likely to happen this year, at least with any of the MLB players. Before the season started, some analysts were talking that the Twins might look to deal Willingham and Morneau because both are in contract seasons and might garner some attention from contenders needing that “one more bat” to get them into the playoffs. Willingham has just looked really hesitant at plate all season to me. Yes he is leading the team in BBs but also in Ks (33/57) and his average is barely above .200. Morneau is faring a little better hitting close to .300 but with very little pop, and that isn’t going to attract many suitors. Firstbasemen are expected to have the HRs to go with a slightly sub .300 AVG and 2 homers isn’t enough. I hope that Justin can return from his flu and start getting some pop back. Josh needs to start attacking pitchers instead of getting behind in counts.
The rest of the roster seems okay for right now. Mastroianni is still trying to recover from his ankle injury. Plouffe is working back from a strained calf that happened during cardio recovery from his concussion. Ramirez is still working back from his concussion. Diamond is back starting as is Deduno, and with Correia there, and Walters working back into the rotation, the starters have been looking better. Pelfrey is still worrying me by averaging less than 5 IP/start. He is putting even more stress on our bullpen and needs to improve or get moved. I would only give him 1 more start before I would feel compelled to make a change. Perkins is doing well as the closer with only a few hickups. Jared Burton has been solid as the 8th inning setup man. Roenicke and Pressley have been doing well as middle relief and Swarzak has been chewing up huge innings as the long releiver better than Duensing has. Fien seems hit or miss right now with some great outings and then getting rocked.
Overall the Twins seem to be best described as bi-polar right now. Over the last 3 weeks they have a 10 game losing streak followed by going 7-2 over the last 9. The pitching during the losing streak was atrocious but the hitting has taken a ton of pressure off of the pitching in the last 9. The hitters are getting early leads for the team and starters just seem more confident and comfortable when pitching ahead on the score board (kind of a no duh observation). Something still needs to change in our starters though as they keep coming out asleep to start the game. Last stat of the post, our starters’ first inning ERA is 8.33 with 50 ER in 54 IP. That cannot keep happening as it causes our hitters to press and under perform.
With the draft coming up I hope the team can address some issues, keep a balanced draft selection, make some intelligent moves, and keep improving the organization.