The status and outlook of the rotation is bound to be the biggest storyline for the Twins down the stretch and into the offseason. Clearly, there is no unit on this roster in a greater state of flux.
As a new feature here on Twins Daily, we thought we'd start taking periodic glances at the starting pitching depth chart to provide a big-picture look at what the club currently has and what's in the pipeline. We'll post updates every few weeks, adjusting for
The second-best pitcher in Minnesota's rotation is a 29-year-old journeyman with five innings of previous major-league experience who has issued 36 walks in 46 innings this season.
Obviously, that speaks to how bad the club's starting pitching has been, but it also speaks to the success Sam Deduno has enjoyed in spite of his outrageously bad control. The right-hander has tallied five quality starts in eight turns, and with a little run support on Sunday he
Late in Sunday's game against the Rays, the Twins reached their breaking point with Brian Dozier.
With the game tied and runners on the corners for Tampa in the 10th inning, the rookie shortstop scooped up a ground ball and took the sure out at first rather than throwing home to cut down the go-ahead run or attempting a tough inning-ending double play.
After the game, Ron Gardenhire seemed to let Dozier off the hook:
"I talked with
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who was optioned to the minors today to make room for Trevor Plouffe, has probably played his last game in a Twins uniform. His memory will endure, however – probably for longer than the team would like.
In a sense, you can't help but feel bad for the guy. He worked hard and tried his best, but in the end he couldn't cut it, and his demotion in the wake of an audition so horrendous it needed to be cut short after three games serves as a
Earlier this week, Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press asked Terry Ryan whether the team's recent run of success has affected the way he's preparing for the offseason.
"Regardless of what you look like right now, you still look at the club and figure out where you're headed and where you need to add," Ryan told Walters. "My focus and our focus will always be, as you go through a season, to look at what you've got and what you've got coming up."
Last year, Minnesota's outfield was a mess. Among players who put in significant time at an OF spot, only Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel posted an OPS over .700, and neither appeared in more than 77 games as on outfielder (Cuddyer due to Justin Morneau's injury, Kubel due to his own). This, along with Denard Span's costly injury, left a lot of at-bats for the likes of Delmon Young, Jason Repko, Rene Tosoni and a rookie Ben Revere, all of whom struggled mightily.
Sending Tsuyoshi Nishioka to the minors at the outset of this season was a fairly obvious decision, given his immense struggles as a rookie last year. Leaving him there for the majority of the summer has also been an easy choice, as his play in Triple-A has offered no indication that he belongs in the big leagues.
That remains true now, after a "hot" month of July in which Nishioka batted .298 but posted a meager .702 OPS, but nevertheless the Twins elected
An outcome that has long seemed inevitable became a reality today when it was announced that pitching prospect Alex Wimmers was slated to undergo Tommy John surgery. It's a major setback in a career that hasn't really been able to get off the starting block.
The story leading up to this news is a familiar and frustrating one. Back in April, Wimmers landed on the disabled list after one start with what was thought to be a minor elbow strain. An MRI exam in
Tuesday's 3:00 PM trade deadline came and went with Minnesota, for a second consecutive year, standing pat.
There's a lot of frustration being directed toward the Twins, who – unlike other cellar-dwellers around the league – weren't able to unload assets for impact prospects. Their only trade sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox for a meager return. In short, the franchise did very little to aid its rebuilding effort.
But, in reflecting on
When the news came down this weekend that the Twins had traded Francisco Liriano to the White Sox for a pair of middling 23-year-old prospects, the reaction around here was understandably negative. The same questions echoed in the minds of fans across the state.
Why did the Twins deal Liriano in the wake of his worst start of the season?
Why did they back away from their stated goal of adding young, high-upside talent?
And why –
The Big Picture
San Francisco leads Los Angeles by a game and a half for the NL West lead. As is typically the case, the G-Men have excelled on the mound, ranking fourth in the NL in ERA, while struggling on offense, ranking 11th in runs per game.
The Dodgers have proven pesky and the Diamondbacks – currently six games back – are always a threat to make a late-season run (last year they went 45-25 after the break), so one would have to think the Giants
Updated 07-24-2012 at 09:29 PM by Nick Nelson
On Monday night, Francisco Liriano is scheduled to make his 130th start in a Twins uniform. It might also be his last.
With 25 strikeouts over his last two starts and a 2.84 ERA since the start of May, Liriano is the hottest pitcher in baseball. He also might be the most appealing rental available on the trade market, with Zack Greinke's market cooling and Cole Hamels perhaps closing in on an extension with the Phillies.
Just over a week remains
The Big Picture
When the Angels skidded to an 18-25 start, many in Anaheim were hitting the panic button. After the most aggressive offseason of any club in baseball, the offense was flatlining – thanks in large part to the remarkable struggles of LA's marquee acquisition: Albert Pujols.
Akin to the 2006 Twins, who reversed course after a 25-33 start to win 96 games, the Angels have gone on a midseason tear, with rookie and MVP frontrunner Mike Trout
Last night I posted an article musing about what it might take for the Twins to get back into the AL Central race in the second half. It was mostly the stuff of pipe dreams, naturally, since the club would need to play .650-plus baseball and leapfrog four teams, requiring an historically unprecedented turnaround. Nevertheless, it was a fun escape from the painful realities of a lost season. (At least for those who were willing to play along.)
Even accepting those realities, there will