The Minnesota Twins have had nothing short of a struggling season this year, currently in the bottom of the standings and 14.5 games back of 1st place in the American Central. Almost everything seems to be going wrong for the Twins pitching staff, and pitching coach Rick Anderson and Manager Ron Gardenhire are growing impatient.
The Twins bats – lead by Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, and Ben Revere – have had enough production to keep them at or above MLB average in batting average, runs, and hits. As a team, the Twins are ranked 9th in MLB for team batting average (.265), 14 in runs scored (524), and 10th in hits (1066). All-Star Joe Mauer and youngster Ben Revere have both been eye openers, sending their batting averages over .300 combined with top 5 for overall batting average. Mauer is in contention for his 4th batting title and is leading the American League in on-base percentage. Power hitter Josh Willingham currently has a career high 31 home runs this season. Tied 3rd for home runs in the American league, Willingham also leads the Twins in RBI’s and runs. He is one of the MLB’s most underrated players, tainted by the fact that Twins organization has struggled to win.
Clearly the Twins are getting the job done on the offensive, but shamefully display problems on the defensive side of the plate. The Twins pitching had issues before the season even began, with starting pitcher Scott Baker having elbow surgery in April, sitting him the entire season. Heartbreakingly, Francisco Liriano was supposed to be the Twins most promising pitcher in the lineup. He lacked consistency with his 2012 season with the Twins, starting the season 1-6 with an ERA of 8.79. Liriano was thus traded to the White Sox in late July, ending his lackluster tenure in Minnesota.
Starting Pitcher Cole De Vries has won only 3 of his last 10 games with a 5.o4 ERA and has not impressed many. De Vries has had his good moments this year but just recently allowed 7 runs in the first inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, an embarrassing and disgraceful nightmare for any ball club.
Samuel Deduno and Scott Diamond have been the only bright spots to come out of the Twins pitching staff. Diamond leads the team in wins with 10 and is 6th in the American League with an ERA of 2.97, Deduno boasts a 4-0 record with the Twins and a solid 3.38 ERA. Despite these two silver linings, the Twins still have the 2nd to worst overall ERA and opponent batting average in the MLB, with a 4.83 ERA and a .279 batting average.
To make matters worse the Twins staple in the pitching rotation, Carl Pavano, was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a shoulder injury. Pavano was 2-5 with a 6.00 ERA before the injury. He recently had his rehab appearance with High-A Fort Myers rained out on Monday.
The Minnesota Twins pitching organization is unfortunately the one to blame for an uninspiring season, disallowing the team to succeed when games are close. Statistics clearly show the Twins’ work in the batting cage is the least of their problems. Whether it’s Pitching Coach Rick Anderson’s fault or the pitchers’ inability to execute the game plan, the Twins indisputably need to make significant changes this offseason in order to establish a dominant presence in this league.