August 25, 2005

Just like pulling off a Band-Aid (and other Twins notes)

  • Joe Mays is such a buzzkill (among other things). The Twins have lost three times in their last 13 games, and two of those losses came courtesy of Mays. After giving up five runs on nine hits in just 4.2 innings against the White Sox last night, Mays is now 1-6 with a 7.48 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break.

    That's testing the limits of how bad a major-league pitcher can be for a contending team while still holding down a job. Or so you'd think, particularly with the following two pitchers currently putting up these numbers at Triple-A:

                             GS        IP      ERA      SO     BB     OAVG
    Scott Baker 22 134.2 3.01 107 26 .242
    Francisco Liriano 12 79.0 1.59 93 22 .160

    Mays is now 6-9 with a 5.16 ERA and 54-to-36 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 141.1 innings this year, and has allowed opponents to tee off on him to the tune of a .313 batting average and .497 slugging percentage. He missed the 2004 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. His ERA in 2003 was 6.30. His ERA in 2002 was 5.38. His career ERA is now 4.76.

    Yanking Mays from the rotation shouldn't be a particularly hard decision for Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire, and it is made even easier by the fact that there is almost zero chance of Mays returning for next season. So you help the team now and begin preparing for the future. Yet according to Gardenhire in Patrick Reusse's column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today:

    That's not the way we do things here. We have too much respect for Joe. If we did that, the guys in that clubhouse ... let's just say they would be very upset, knowing what Joe's gone through to get back here.

    At this point in the season, I can't imagine anything making a group of players more upset than watching someone on their team perform like Mays has every fifth day. And if that's not "the way we do things here" then perhaps someone should take a long, hard look at "the way we do things here."

  • Here's an interesting note from the Elias Sports Bureau on Tuesday night's incredible pitching duel:
    Freddy Garcia allowed only one hit Tuesday, but Jacque Jones' home run was enough for the Twins to post a 1-0 victory over the White Sox.

    In the last 10 seasons the only other pitcher to lose a game in which he allowed only one hit was Ted Lilly for the Yankees on April 27, 2002. In that game, at Safeco Field, Lilly took a no-hitter to the eighth inning of a scoreless game, but with one out Dan Wilson drew a walk. Pinch-runner Luis Ugueto moved to second base on a wild pitch and scored on Desi Relaford's single, the only hit allowed that night by Lilly.

    In the last 20 seasons, two other pitchers have lost a complete game one-hitter on a home run: Kevin Appier for the Royals against the Rangers on July 27, 1993 (home run by Rafael Palmeiro in the seventh inning) and Paul Menhart for the Blue Jays against the Orioles on Aug. 2, 1995 (homer by Harold Baines in the second inning).

    To which I say, who the hell is Paul Menhart?!

  • I thought this quote from Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen was a little confusing:
    The reason the Minnesota Twins played good in the second half is because of Santana. It's not because they play great baseball. They have a great pitching staff.

    I must have missed the memo where the pitching staff isn't part of a baseball team. Johan Santana, incidentally, is now 6-1 with a 1.57 ERA in the second half, making him 27-2 with a 1.96 ERA after the All-Star break during the past three seasons. And yes, you read that right.

  • My THT colleague, Ben Jacobs, broke down the American League Wild Card race Wednesday, and had the following to say about the Twins:
    The first conclusion to draw is that things don't look good for the Twins. They're on a nice run right now, but they have a tough schedule left, no offense and some serious injury problems. They also have to climb past three other teams, which is difficult to do even when it's only 2.5 games.

    All of which is more or less the same conclusion I came to while breaking down the remaining schedules here earlier this week.

  • Remember Adam Johnson, the #2 overall pick in the 2000 draft who turned out to be a complete bust for the Twins? Here's an interesting note I saw about him in the Contra Costa Times last week:
    The A's signed Adam Johnson, 26, who was pitching for the independent San Diego Surf Dawgs.

    Johnson was 8-1 with a 2.58 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings and had been named Golden Baseball League Pitcher of the Week three times this season.

    He was scheduled to make his first appearance tonight for Triple-A Sacramento, the A's top farm team. Johnson, who attended Cal State Fullerton, was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2000 draft by the Minnesota Twins. He reached the major leagues a year later, pitching 26-1/3 innings over two seasons. He was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks after throwing two innings in spring training.

    "He's a very highly thought of prospect who pitched well all summer," said A's assistant general manager David Forst, who signed Johnson to a minor league deal. "We want to see what he can do."

    Reports had Johnson throwing from 87-91 mph, according to Forst, who reserved judgment on whether the pitcher could be a Sept. 1 call-up.

    "He hasn't thrown one pitch for this organization," Forst said. "We're not going to jump ahead of ourselves."

  • The San Diego Surf Dogs of the Golden Baseball League is the team Rickey Henderson currently leads off for (he has a .459 on-base percentage in 68 games). Johnson's comeback isn't go so well, as he has a grotesque 12.91 ERA in two starts for Triple-A Sacramento, giving up 11 earned runs in 7.2 innings.

  • The more I read Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan the more I find myself disagreeing with his overall premises while admiring some of his one-liners. I would compare reading his columns to going to a restaurant and hating the main course, but loving the dessert. Sometimes it's worth struggling through it just to get to the good part, but sometimes it's not.

    For instance, his "It's just following tradition for the White Sox to choke" column last week was fairly silly considering the current standings in the AL Central, but I did like his line about Joe Mauer being "the best 22-year-old hitter since Cassius Clay." Souhan's column also contained this amusing bit:

    As the Twins' hitters slumped, Johan Santana and Carlos Silva started acting silly. Now that the Twins have won seven of eight, Gardenhire doesn't even attempt to shower at the Dome.

    "If I'm going to get chased around the shower," he said, "it's going to be by my wife."

    Good to know the Gardenhires continue to have a thriving sex life at their age. I'd make some sort of a joke about not dropping the soap, but this is a family site after all.

  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - Ten Things I Didn't Know Last Week (by Dave Studeman)
    - The Fall and Rise of Jason Giambi, Part Three (by Larry Mahnken)

    Today's Picks (92-78, +$1,290):
    Los Angeles (Lackey) -120 over Baltimore (Lopez)


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