Hey remember yesterday? When I pointed to the Twins allowing 8 baserunners in a row in the 11th inning?
Remember how I quoted myself? It was this paragraph, written just before trade deadline:
This starting rotation could really use a solid, veteran arm. Same goes for the bullpen, which has been a juggler's nightmare all year, after the pre-season injuries to Boof Bonser and Pat "The Sub-Mariner!" Neshek.
Last night, I bolded the second sentence. Tonight, I'd bold the first two sentences. I think we can pity Anthony Swarzak, a rookie pitcher who has been thrown into the deep end. He had his worst start ever in the majors. Or at least, the worst I can recall--finishing only 3 innings, and being responsible for four Earned Runs, and being charged with 6 in total. His last start was a gem, so this was disappointing.
That's going to happen with a rookie occasionally, and the bullpen needs to step up and help the youngsters, especially when the Twins bats had done OK themselves. After 4 innings, the score was 6-4--not a great place to be in after four, but better than could be expected. But R.A. Dickey and Bobby Keppel combined for 5 innings, eight hits and 5 runs--all those runs being scored in the 6th, on 3 homeruns.
Once again, a close game became a laugher thanks to the Twins bullpen. Even Sid Hartman has come out to argue that the Twins didn't do enough prior to the trade deadline. And when you get Grampa Simpson yelling out you, you know you fucked up. Sid makes a bigger deal than I think is deserved over over-performing Jarrod Washburn and injured Jake Peavy (hey, if the The White Sox want to pay him $70 million during the sunset of his career, more power to them). But he makes a worthwhile, and worrying point about the Twins rotation. This is a stunning moment in the history of IDYFT--I'm about to quote Sid Hartman without mocking him mercilessly:
[Observers] have concerns over Francisco Liriano, who was the first AL pitcher to reach 10 losses and missed his last start because of a sore forearm.
Then you have the problem that even if the rotation of Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn,Glen Perkins, Liriano and rookie Anthony Swarzak holds up, the Twins have concerns in the bullpen, and they showed up again Friday when the Angels scored six 11th-inning runs.
It is already feeling like the Twins are giving up on this season, and planning for the big 2010 open air stadium reveal. I think that rotation has to go down to four guys, and in a hurry, even. Move Perkins or Liriano or Swarzak to the bullpen (my vote? Liriano) and see what can happen with 4 guys who have been inconsistent, but have shown moments of brilliance throughout the year. Let's keep appearances by Dickey and Keppel to a minimum. They are only effective if seen briefly. With Cabrera in the fold, the Twins, despite appearances, haven't given up on the year. But they need to show they do more than hang tight with the Angels for six to ten innings--they need to win some games against the Powers of other Divisions, too.
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