Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tired Arms, But Twins Are In First!

Glen Perkins' showing in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader exemplifies a problem with the young Twins pitching staff. Perkins has a tired arm.

It was pretty obvious Saturday as his fastball was all over the diamond and ball movement lacking any snap.

Manager Ron Gardenhire smartly pulled Perkins and began a parade of recent Rochester Red Wings pitchers to finish off the Baltimore Orioles, 12-6.

Like Perkins, the rest of the starting staff are challenging the most innings they've ever pitched.
  • Perkins (12-4, 4.11 ERA) has tossed 175.6 innings this year (that number includes the 33.3 innings he's thrown in the minors). That's the most innings he's piched in a season. He threw 134 innings in 2004.

  • Nick Blackburn (10-8, 3.67) led Twins pitchers in innings pitched with 176.7 innings heading into Sunday's final game with the Orioles. His previous top inning season was 2005 (156.6 IP).

  • Kevin Slowey (12-9, 3.63) is at 159.3 innings this year (13 in the minors) and is the most accomplished innings eater of the staff. Last year, Slowey combined for 199.3 innings between the majors (66.7) and minors (133.6). In 2006 he threw 140 innings in the minors.

  • Scott Baker (9-4, 3.57) went just six innings in the early game Saturday and now has 158.3 innings pitched (5 IP in minors). Baker threw 169 innings at three levels of minor league ball in 2004. Baker also pitched 143.7 innings last year for the Twins when he was 9-9 with a 4.26 ERA.

  • Francisco Liriano (5-3, 3.19) has thrown 62 innings for the Twins and 126 more in the minors this year (188 total). Those totals come after missing all of 2007 with Tommy John surgery. Liriano threw just 121 innings in his spectacular 2006 season (12-3, 2.16), but he did throw for a minors/majors combined innings total of 191.3 in 2005.

With 14 games remaining in the regular season, the Twins have to hold on and hope the bullpen --so atrocious lately--will respond and pick up innings.

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