With Scott Baker toying with perfect games and Johan thinking about setting a game record in strikeouts of late, perhaps it's time to start looking at the future of the Twins rotation.
- The top spot is set with Johan Santana. From there, who will be on the team, who will fill the next slots and who will step up garners some intrigue.
- There's Baker (126 innings pitched this season, 8-6 record, 85 strikeouts and a 4.09 ERA), suddenly a solid piece of the Twins rotation.
- Boof is slipping as fast as Baker is coming on. Bonser's stats look more like the big fat Sidney Ponson's of late (Boof: 160 IP, 6-12 record, 125 SO, 4.95 ERA).
- Matt Garza's stats are outstanding, sans the phenomenal shellings he occasionally takes (56 IP, 3-5, 47 SO, 3.49 ERA).
- What is going to come of Spittin' Carlos Silva? What pitcher is he, for real? Awkward stats again (174.3 IP, 11-13, 76 SO, 4.34 ERA).
- Can the Twins truly count on bionic armed Francisco Liriano next year? Really? Come on. He had his arm reconstructed because he ruined it throwing that nasty shit he threw last year. If he even comes up with Boof numbers the lefty might give the team something it needs.
- Kevin Slowey (37 IP, 3-0, 19 SO, 5.85 ERA) reminded me a lot of Garza last year (so perhaps 2008 will show another turnaround like Garza's).
- Glen Perkins can hope at best to turn up as the next Mark Guthrie and probably nothing more considering his shoulder issues.
So what will become of this staff? Starting pitching will decide next year if the Twins bounce back and become contenders again. My feeling is the rotation will go something like:
Silva will either stay with the team for one more year (clearly as a way to appease his friend Santana and for no other reason) or head for free agency. I'm banking on free agency.
Baker deserves to be called Kevin Tapani more than my initial reaction to call Slowey Tap. Garza will be outstanding next year -- contending for the Cy Young with Santana.
Liriano will pitch out of the bullpen. I say this because the Twins are the most cautious team in the history of baseball in regard to moving players off the DL. Will he pitch as he did last year? Not a chance -- maybe forever. Don't expect anything from him for real until 2009.
It's not a bad rotation. All of them are in their mid-20s and are improving. The only wild card here involves a scenario where the team trades for a veteran pitcher or signs him as a free agent.
For now, though, we'll enjoy our Scott Baker near-no-hitter moments.