|Jim Thome has hit 24 home runs in Target Field.|
After Thome's three-run shot Thursday off Scott Diamond, one of my co-workers asked why Thome was with the Phillies, who have limited use for a DH (and none after this month).
Answer: Because the Phillies offered him a contract early in the offseason, and Thome figured the offers would be few and far between; because he and Charlie Manuel, the Phillies manager, go way back; because he figured Philadelphia gave him a good shot at the World Series title that still eludes him.
But realistically, he and the Phils aren't a real good fit. They tried to use him some early on at first base; he wound up spending almost two months on the disabled list. He came off the DL in time for the interleague road games, which gives Manuel the chance to get him in the lineup, but once that's over (next week), about all he can do is pinch-hit.
I don't know if there are any American League contenders who can carry a part-time designated hitter. Part-time because he's not David Ortiz; you can't just stick Thome in the lineup seven games a week. His history with the Twins suggests that his three-day run in the lineup in Minnesota this week is about as much as he can handle without a day or two on the bench.
When he can hit, he's a threat, still. It's the "when" part that's the issue.
Johan Santana has made two starts since his no-hitter. He's pitched 10-plus innings and allowed 10 runs. It could have been worse' he left Thursday night's game having loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth. Another ex-Twins pitcher, Jon Rauch, bailed him out of that mess.
A definitive line of cause-and-effect cannot be drawn here, but ... 134 pitches for the no-hitter, followed by two bad starts, even with extra days off.