Mr. Ryan, it is all about pitching
By the time the Minnesota Twins return to the baseball field next February in Florida, they better have some decent starting pitchers on the roster. Terry Ryan's displeasure at two straight cellar finishes in the American League Central has to go...
By the time the Minnesota Twins return to the baseball field next February in Florida, they better have some decent starting pitchers on the roster.
Terry Ryan's displeasure at two straight cellar finishes in the American League Central has to go a lot further than kicking some of Ron Gardenhire's coaches out of the clubhouse.
The Twins posted a 4.77 team-earned run average during the 2012 season. Only Cleveland and Colorado ended the season with weaker ERA's.
Pitching and defense is what wins championships. It has been proven again and again. Just take a look at the 2012 lineup of post-season teams. Not one of them finished the regular season with a team ERA in the 4.0 range. The A's hit .238 as a team, but still managed to score 713 runs. They won 94 games and their division title because they surrendered only 614 runs. The Twins hit a very respectable .260 and scored 701 times. They also gave up 832 runs and won just 66 times.
Injuries were the culprit again in 2012. It looked like the Twins had a pretty fair staff when they came north last spring. They were not going to have veteran starter Scott Baker, but they were able to put veterans Francisco Liriano, Jason Marquis, Carl Pavano and Nick Blackburn on the hill, along with newcomer Liam Hendricks. This collection of starting talent produced a pitiful 14 victories for the Twins. Liriano ended the season with the Chicago White Sox. Marquis played his last game in August for San Diego.
Shoulder problems dogged the Twins after they brought their act to Target Field. Pavano was done by June 3. Walters went on the disabled list June 13. The Twins watched Marquis pitch 34 innings and lose four straight decisions before they cut him loose. Capps went on the DL June 16 and did not return until Sept. 23.
Maybe it was just tough luck that cost the Twins all of these pitchers? Who can say when the injury problems their pitchers suffered really began? At least the Twins did not decide to clean house by dropping Gardenhire and Pitching Coach Rick Anderson.
Scott Diamond was the closest the Twins had to a reliable starter in 2012. Along with Brian Duensing, Diamond was the only pitcher to work over 100 innings for the Twins. He was also their only double figure winner with 12 victories in 21 decisions. The jury may still be out on pitchers like Cole DeVries and Sam Deduno. They managed to win 11 games between them after being called up during the season.
The bright spot for Minnesota's pitching staff were relievers Jared Burton and Glen Perkins. These two pitchers combined for 20 saves and turned in respectable ERA's of 2.18 and 2.56.
The Twins are three years removed from making a playoff appearance. Their starting pitchers gave them 66 victories in 2010, and the staff posted a 3.95 ERA. Those are the kind of numbers the Twins are going to need in 2013. Mr. Ryan, where are they going to come from?