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  • Ghost of Twins Past Haunts the Twins' Future

    Almost exactly six years ago, I sat several rows up from home plate as Scott Baker took a perfect game in to the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals. While he didn't complete his date with immortality, it was the closest I've ever come to seeing a Major League no-hitter in person.

    On Wednesday night, I watched Baker continue to try to work his way back to the Big Leagues with the Chicago Cubs with a rehabilitation start for the Kane County Cougars against the future Twins suiting up for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

    Scott Baker, Kane County Cougar

    (This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com)

    I never saw Baker get above 86 mph on the scoreboard, so even giving him an extra tick or two due to the Cedar Rapids scoreboard's reputation for being slightly slower than the speed guns of the scouts who perch directly behind home plate most nights, the former Twins pitcher never hit any higher than 88 mph and he didn't mix in more than a couple of off-speed pitches each inning.

    But on this night, that was good enough to handcuff the Kernels as only a fifth inning infield single by Adam Brett Walker kept Baker from completing five perfect innings. Jorge Polanco and Travis Harrison each reached the warning track off of Baker in their first plate appearances of the night, but that was the closest anyone came to doing any damage to the former Twins star.

    Jose Berrios

    Jose Berrios, the 19-year-old that Twins fans hope will be one of the anchors of a future Twins rotation, fared far worse.

    Berrios has been tabbed as the starting pitcher in the first game of the Kernels' postseason next Wednesday, but tonight he struggled with his control. Berrios walked three hitters and gave up five hits, including two home runs, as the Kernels fell 9-1 to Baker's Kane County Cougars.

    SD Buhr covers the Cedar Rapids Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com. His alter-ego, Jim Crikket, opines about the Twins and Kernels at Knuckleballsblog.com.
    This article was originally published in blog: Ghost of Twins Past Haunts the Twins' Future started by SD Buhr
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Baker looks a lot younger.
    1. orangevening's Avatar
      orangevening -
      A lot different actually. Glad we didn't resign him. Worried about Berrios though.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      The second straight disappointing start for Berrios may have cost him the opportunity to start the Kernels' first postseason game at Quad Cities next week.

      Jake Mauer told MSR's Jim Ecker after the game, "we may have to go in another direction."

      MetroSportsReport.com article can be found clicking below

    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      I was at that Twins Royals game as well - 8 perfect innings, so close.

      I wish Baker well.
    1. Jdosen's Avatar
      Jdosen -
      I was at that game too. Probably my favorite Twins game I've ever attended. I'll always have a soft spot for Baker because of that start.
    1. Keenan's Avatar
      Keenan -
      I was at a baseball game the night Baker tossed his 8 perfect innings, unfortunately it was in Anaheim and not Minnesota. I have been lucky enough to see two perfect games since. I happened to be passing through Detroit on June 2, 2010 with my 6 month old son in hand and even he could see from our far left field corner seats that Armando Galarraga made the last out. May not be a perfect game in the record books but it should have been.

      We were also lucky enough to be at Phil Humber's perfect game in Seattle a few years back which in my opinion ended on a pretty questionable call too. If my son gets to see one more pitching gem in his young life, I'm gonna need one of you to write the story for the news to make him a famous good luck charm!
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Mauer changing Berrios's position and doubting the young kid would be a bad decision.

      Mauer's role is not to win playoff games for some town in Iowa. - no offense CR- I don't care if they win the playoffs. All I care about is players like Berrios have confidence in their ability, get better and improve. Mauer's job is to develop players and allow high impact prospects prove themselves in high impact situations.

      Leave Berrios where he is. Call him your ace and let him go out with full confidence.

      Perhaps this is the reason the club demoted Mauer to the coach of Single A?
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      I respectfully disagree, clutterheart.

      First, Berrios is not and has not been the Kernels' "ace" this year. He's been inconsistent and he has looked worn down the past couple of starts. Not surprising for a 19 year old who started his season early in the WBC.

      You may not care about playoff results, but I assure you the players in that clubhouse do and they expect the coaches to put the guys out there that give them the best chance to win. Instilling that winning attitude (and remember, several of these guys were on the E'town championship team last year) is important.

      Sending Berrios out to get his head knocked in again and perhaps cost his team a playoff win in the process will do nothing to build his confidence. He has not oonsistently reacted well to adversity this season.

      The staff literally has seven starting pitchers to choose from right now and Berrios has been among the least effective the past two times through the rotation. Honestly, IMO, there are a couple of those other guys I think have as good a chance, if not better, of being good MLB starting pitchers as Berrios.

      Keep in mind, if the Kernels win 2 of the 3 game series against QC, they go straight in to the second round without a scheduled off-day (unless game 3 isn't necessary), so they would use three entirely different starting pitchers in the second round. Berrios could benefit from an extra couple days of rest and then match up well with the second round opponent's #3-5 pitcher and have a much better chance of success.
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