Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gumming up the rotation outlook

Liam Hendriks allowed three runs in 6.1 innings Tuesday.
Liam Hendriks took the mound Tuesday evening working a wad of chewing gum. It appeared to work as well for the Aussie as it has for Francisco Liriano; while Hendriks lost again, he pitched well (92 pitches, 61 strikes, first strikes to 15 of the 25 batters).

FSN made it sound during the pregame that Hendriks was pitching for his rotation job. If so, it suggests some misplaced priorities in the organization, that people are taking the "we're only 7.5 games out of first" thing too seriously.

Yeah, the Twins entered Tuesday's game 7.5 games out of first. They also entered it with the second-worst record in the American League. And they exited Tuesday 8.5 out of first, and with the worst record in the American League.

Making decisions on the basis that this is a contending team strikes me as a bit foolish. Priority One should be: Identify, develop and protect the pieces of a future contending rotation.

Hendriks, for all his struggles in the majors this season — and he has indeed struggled — is more likely to be such a piece than anybody they can replace him with right now. His numbers in Rochester (5-0 in seven starts, 1.94 ERA, 42 strikeouts in 46 innings) suggest that hitters in the International League have nothing to teach him.

Hendriks' growing pains may be frustrating for Ron Gardenhire and Co., but they're for the best in the long run.


  1. Making decisions based on the idea the Twins are out of it would be foolish. Before last nights game Chicago was on a pace to win the division with 84 wins. The Twins had been playing .600 ball for the past month, good enough to end the season with 84 wins.

    There may be a point where the Twins should play for next year, but they haven't reached it yet. Its also doubtful that letting a young pitcher get lit up at the major league level makes sense at any point. If he isn't getting hitters out, he isn't learning anything. Not when he is giving up a run per inning, which is what Hendriks had been doing.

  2. the Twins are not contenders.

    their ERA is 2nd to last in all of MLB.

    If the can win 70 games this season it would be a miracle.

  3. Its pretty safe to say if the Twins play like they did the first couple months they aren't contenders. But if they play like they have the past month, then the numbers say they are.

    Their season ERA is based on a different set of starters and includes the struggles of Liriano and Hendricks. If those two really have turned things around and Duensing can pitch the way he has in the past, that ERA doesn't have much meaning for the future.

  4. 12-12 through the soft spot in their schedule (June). The Twins place in the standings speaks more about the AL central then anything else.

    A 162-game season's beauty is that all your warts get exposed; the Twins is their rotation and pretty much their entire staff as a whole.

    Cubs, Twins, Padres are in the race for the 1st pick in the 2013 Draft.