June 13, 2007
Twins Notes: Fivesomes, Sideshow, Johan, and Milton
AVG OBP SLG
1. Luis Castillo .330 .373 .364
2. Joe Mauer .333 .417 .458
3. Michael Cuddyer .298 .377 .471
4. Justin Morneau .273 .347 .547
5. Torii Hunter .312 .355 .571
Without actually crunching any numbers, my guess is that's among the very best front fives in baseball. The fivesome went 7-for-20 with five RBIs and five runs scored last night.
G W L IP ERA SO BB HR OAVG
62 7 2 68.0 1.72 90 17 8 .150
Who would guess that a 7-2 record, 1.72 ERA, 90-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and .150 opponent's batting average could possibly come from something that looks like this on the mound?
Remember when Neshek first came up from Triple-A last season and various people made a big deal about his supposed struggles against left-handed hitters? Sideshow Pat has held left-handers to a .176/.260/.353 hitting line during his career, including a ridiculous .100/.217/.175 this season.
W L IP ERA SO BB HR OAVG
Radke 2 1 18.0 4.50 9 4 3 .288
Slowey 2 0 17.0 3.71 6 2 4 .297
Radke went 11-14 with a 5.32 ERA as a rookie in 1995, which is the sort of thing that should probably be pointed out once in a while when fans seemingly panic because guys like Matt Garza aren't great immediately. Also worth noting: Scott Baker had a 2.37 ERA, 15-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and .209 opponent's batting average through his first three starts back in 2005.
Yes, Santana hasn't been the best pitcher in the league through mid-June. Guess what? He's never been the best pitcher in the league through mid-June. And yes, Santana's current numbers don't compare favorably to his overall numbers at the end of 2004, 2005, and 2006. Guess what? His numbers at this same point in 2004, 2005, and 2006 don't even compare favorably to his overall numbers at the end of those same seasons.
To Luft's credit, he doesn't get caught up in Santana's 6-6 record, because he's smart enough to know better. Santana's record is due largely to the Twins' inability to provide him with run support, as they've managed three runs or fewer in nine of his 13 outings. Looking solely at Santana's ability to prevent runs, which is all he can control, his performance through 13 starts is nearly identical to where he stood through 13 starts in 2005 and 2006, and far better than his numbers through 13 starts in 2004:
YEAR GS IP ERA SO BB HR OAVG
2004 13 75.2 5.11 71 23 13 .277
2005 13 92.1 3.31 114 11 10 .209
2006 13 88.1 3.16 91 16 10 .231
2007 13 86.0 3.24 96 23 13 .228
Whatever's "wrong" with Santana right now was also "wrong" with him in 2005 and 2006.
Here's an interesting stat that I stumbled across while doing some of the research that went unused: Since finally handing him a full-time spot in the rotation in mid-2003, the Twins are 91-38 (.705) when Santana starts. In games Santana didn't start over that same span, the Twins are 258-233 (.525). With Santana on the mound, the Twins have been the equivalent of a 110-win team. Without Santana on the mound, the Twins have essentially been an 85-win team.
Since leaving Minnesota, Milton has thrown 571.1 innings with a 5.45 ERA while making $34.5 million. And now his career is in jeopardy, because Milton will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery Friday. After one season with the Phillies, Milton signed a three-year, $25.5 million contract with the Reds, during which he went 16-27 with a 5.83 ERA. A pending free agent, Milton turns 32 years old in August, hasn't been good since 2001, and will likely miss at least half of next season following surgery.
There's a chance Milton's career will end with a 5.01 ERA and Reds fans surely won't remember him favorably, but whatever happens going forward, he had a nice run for the Twins.
Once you're done here, check out my latest "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.