Chicago Cubs sign former Minnesota Twin Scott Baker

cubs-girls

The Chicago Cubs and right-handed pitcher Scott Baker have agreed to terms on a one-year contract.

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Minnesota Twins are in Total Free Fall

Delmon Young

The Minnesota Twins have been plummeting in the American League Central standings. There win percentage may be lower than Adam Dunn’s batting average by the end of September. The Scott Baker injury recently put the icing on the cake of a disastrous season. Fans looking for a bargain in the Twin Cities should look to purchase tickets secondhand during an NFL Sunday. They could pick up the seats for next to nothing.

In analyzing the struggles of the ball club, the most glaring shortcoming is the lack of RBI production from those who should have provided more impressive numbers. Delmon Young, Jason Kubel, Justin Morneau, and Joe Mauer were all expected to have substantially more runs batted in. Usually the team can weather the storm if one of its players falls off, but when it’s almost everyone, good luck.

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Minnesota Twins Showing Some Signs of Life

There is nothing that a Twins fan dreads more than seeing the New York Yankees on their upcoming schedule. The same can be said of the faithful of the Chicago White Sox regarding the Twins. Some match-ups provide distinct advantages to a certain side even when there doesn’t seem to be a drastic disparity in talent between the two. It demonstrates the importance of the mental aspect of the game.

Heading into play on Saturday, Minnesota had won a half dozen in a row this season and nine in a row total going back to last year against the White Sox.

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How the Twins can Fix Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Heading into their weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Target Field, the Twins and their fans can rest a little easier after taking two of three games from the Los Angeles Dodgers despite giving up fifteen runs in the first game and scoring only seven runs in all the games combined. This last fact simply shows that the club is resourceful and is getting quality pitching on a regular basis. Starter Scott Baker made Andre Ethier look like a Little Leaguer during the matinee game on Wednesday.

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Duensing Dominant, Stepping Into Third Starter Spot for Twins

brian duensing

The Minnesota Twins haven’t had a lot of holes to be filled this year.   [Read more…]

Minnesota Twins Offseason Has to be Considered a Failure

Ron Gardenhire

Fresh off a series loss to the Cleveland Indians, the Minnesota Twins have to be staring into the mirror asking themselves some serious questions about the last nine months.   [Read more…]

Nick Blackburn Should Be Out of Twins Rotation

Nick Blackburn

The Minnesota Twins offense has a funny way of covering up the teams other flaws. [Read more…]

Cliff Lee a Must for Minnesota Twins

cliff lee

In the last few weeks the Chicago White Sox have caught fire, the Detroit Tigers have continued their steady play to hang around the top of the AL Central, and one thing has become painfully clear for the team at the top of the division. [Read more…]

Pavano Steadying Twins Shaky Starting Staff

Carl Pavano

Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavano has had his share of ups and downs.

Coming off an 18 win season with Florida in 2004 in which he was an All-Star and ranked eighth in the majors in ERA, disappointment has followed. [Read more…]

2010 Minnesota Twins Season Preview

By Mike Gallagher

What an offseason.

Orlando Hudson, Jim Thome, and the best field in Major League Baseball have all arrived in the Twin Cities.   [Read more…]

Despite Ten Wins, Kevin Slowey Still Not an Ace

slowey

By Shaymus McLaughlin

There are only two pitchers with ten wins in the major leagues. Unsurprisingly, one is Roy Halladay, the all-star caliber Blue Jays pitcher whose 2.53 ERA, 88 strikeouts, and 1.04 WHIP are all within close proximity to the league leader in those categories. It makes perfect sense that he has accumulated ten wins already this season.

The other one actually shocked me. As I was catching up on the Twins game against the Astros last Friday, I noticed an odd piece of information: Kevin Slowey had just become the baseball’s second ten-game winner.

Um, what?

Slowey is a good pitcher, without a doubt, but really? 10 wins? I’ve watched him pitch a number of times this year, and although I’m never disappointed in what I see, I’m rarely in awe like I am when watching his ten-win counterpart Halladay pitch. I had no idea he was actually pitching that well.

After the game, plenty of credit was given to Slowey on the internet and nightly sports recap shows for having hit the win mark so quickly. And rightfully so. 10 wins and only 2 losses in a measly 14 starts is very good. But how the heck did he do it? Slowey has never been seen as the potential ace of the Twins’ young staff. That moniker has been given to Francisco Liriano pre-injury and Scott Baker after his stellar conclusion to last year, but people have never talked about Slowey as a great pitcher until now. And frankly, despite his 10 wins, calling Kevin Slowey a great pitcher at this point seems premature. Just look at the numbers.

His statistics are respectable, but outside of the abnormally high win total, they look simply decent. Currently, he sports a 4.04 ERA, which doesn’t even match the likes of Randy Wolf (3.29), Aaron Harang (3.66) or Matt “We seriously got this guy for Delmon Young” Garza (3.83). It’s solid, but it’s not even good enough to crack the 25 best starting pitchers.

This guy has a better ERA than Kevin Slowey

His 1.37 WHIP places him on the same level as his ERA: It’s not embarrassing, but not elite by any means. Once again he’s outside the top-25. He’s a stunning 8-0 at home, compared to 2-2 on the road, but it’s not because he’s pitching any better. His ERA at home (4.07) is actually 8 points higher than on the road (3.99). Slowey’s numbers against lefties (37.1 IP, 36 K, 12 BB, 1.82 WHIP and a .348 BAA) are below-average at best, but he manages to balance it with his solid pitching against righties (47.1 IP, 31 K, 2 BB, 1.01 WHIP, .260 BAA).

So how has he managed to scrape together a league-leading 10 wins?

It’s simple. He’s gotten lucky.

To start, he’s had to pitch on the road only five times this season. As evidenced above, location doesn’t seem to affect the way he pitches, but it does change the way the offense performs. The offense bats only .264 on the road and scores an average of 4.09 runs per game. If we discount the anomaly that was the 20-run outburst at Chicago, their run production drops to 3.58 runs per game. At home, the offense spikes significantly. The team hits at a .280 clip and provides an average of 5.38 runs. Since Slowey has been able to pitch at home in nine of his starts, he’s generally received better offensive production than his staff counterparts.

Consequently, the run support for Slowey has been much better than it has for any of the other starters. The offense generates an average of 5.5 runs per game when Slowey starts the ball game. Conversely, Nick Blackburn, whose 3.09 ERA leads the Twins, is given only an average of 4.23 runs per game (discounting the fluke 20-1 White Sox win once again), and has only won 6 games as a result. Perkins (5.22 runs/game), Baker (5.0 r/g) and Liriano (a shockingly low 3.64 r/g) also receive less run support from the Twins’ offense than Slowey does.

Most importantly, Slowey seems to be immune to the disease known as TBS (Twins’ Bullpen Syndrome), in which leads hemorrhage away and once-healthy games turn into rotting, losses. Slowey has only two no-decisions this year, and only one in which he left the game with a lead, only to watch the Twins’ bullpen blow the game (an 8-6 loss to Toronto). In every other game, the bullpen has managed to uphold the lead that Slowey exited with. Compare this to Blackburn, who has seen six games in which he exited with a lead or tie, only to be let down by those same relief pitchers.

Even Twins bat boys are not safe from TBS

This is not meant to discredit Kevin Slowey. He’s pitched some wonderful games for the Twins this season, and clearly has the ability to be an effective starting pitcher for years to come. He just isn’t quite the ten-win ace that Roy Halladay is.

At least yet.