Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Twins' crumbling pitching

Facing the worst offense in the American League, the Twins allowed 14 runs on Monday, 16 on Wednesday.

And to think I denegrated Anthony Swarzak's work on Tuesday. At least he got outs.

Glen Perkins (right) got only three outs on Wednesday, then reported some shoulder problems. He downplayed them to the media, but he's going to see a noted specialist on Thursday (as will third baseman Joe Crede, something to be discussed on another day).

The Twins being the Twins, Perkins is unlikely to make his next start (Monday) no matter what the specialist says. Which raises the question: Then who will?

My guess is either R.A Dickey or Brian Duensing, both of whom pitched Wednesday, both long enough that they won't be used Thursday.

Dickey threw 86 pitches, easily what I call the moral equivalent of a start — meaning he ought not be used again until Monday anyway. On that basis, I think Dickey's the guy to start on Monday. But he may be in Ron Gardenhire's doghouse after his fastball to Ian Kinsler on Sunday, plus his ERA has gone from 2.37 on July 1 to 3.62 now.

Kevin Slowey, still on the disabled list, has gone to Rochester for a rehab assignment. The idea is for him to make one start, maybe two, to test his wrist. At best, he'll be pitching with discomfort with surgery after the season. At worse, he'll need the surgery sooner. He's to pitch Saturday; even if that start goes well, he won't be an option Monday against the White Sox.

Kevin Mulvey, who relieved Perkins in the second inning and had an ugly line of his own, was shipped out after the game and Jesse Crain recalled. His ERA while in the minors was good, but the word was that his fastball command was still lacking.

Perkins' line from Wednesday is quite remarkable. One inning, six hits, three walks, eight runs, and a throwing error. He threw first-pitch strikes to nine of his 12 hitters, which is a good rate, but only 22 of his 41 pitches were strikes.

He says his shoulder doesn't hinder his pitching. Something sure was.

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