A few words on behalf of decent starting pitching.
Esmerling Vasquez became the 12th starting pitcher tried by the Twins this season, a number that still could grow during September auditions. The rotation's struggles in 2012 have frustrated Twins' leadership and the fan base.
Another thing it has done: made us think twice about all of those decent-to-pretty good starting pitchers Twins fans might have taken for granted in the preceding decade or so. Johan Santana was a bona fide ace for many seasons, and Francisco Liriano electrified everyone in 2006. These guys, though, provided rotation stability in many seasons -- often in unheralded fashion or even despite grumbles from fans:
• Brad Radke: His first-inning struggles drove Twins backers crazy. But during the team's return to winning ways from 2001 until his retirement in 2006, Radke was 70-55 with a 4.11 ERA, averaging 30 starts per season.
• Eric Milton: Won 28 games combined in 2001 and 2002 and was even an All-Star in 2001 before an injury-plagued 2003 season and an eventual trade to the Phillies after that season.
• Kyle Lohse: Won 45 games from 2002 to '05, starting an average of 32 games during that span. His 4.61 ERA during that stretch wasn't exactly stellar; compared with the 5.43 ERA posted by Twins starters this season (entering play Sunday), however, it looks far more decent.
• Rick Reed: Had ony one good season here, but it was prototypical mid-rotation stuff: 15-7 and a 3.78 ERA in 188 innings in 2002.
• Kenny Rogers: Remember how in Rogers' one season with the Twins (13 wins, 31 starts in 2003) he was their fifth starter? Those were the days.
• Carlos Silva: He gave up what seemed like a million hits, but he also ate innings and gave the Twins a chance to win in a lot of ballgames between 2004 and 2007. During that stretch, he was 47-45 with a 4.42 ERA while averaging 193 innings and 31 starts per season.
• Scott Baker: He had injury issues -- culminating in Tommy John elbow surgery this year -- so it can be easy to forget what Baker offers when healthy. From 2007 to 2011, he went 55-37 with a 3.98 ERA and averaged 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He made at least 21 starts each year, with a high of 33 in 2009.
• Kevin Slowey: Before he became one of the symbols of all that went wrong in 2011, Slowey had double-digit victories in each year from 2008 to 2010, earning 35 victories and posting a 4.36 ERA in 71 starts.
• Nick Blackburn: Much like Slowey, Blackburn at least looked to be a capable back-end rotation pitcher for years to come after posting double-digit wins every year from 2008 to '10. He was 11-11 in 2008 and again in 2009 with an ERA just above 4.00. In 2008, he pitched very well in a 1-0 Game 163 loss to the White Sox.
|San Diego||12/12/13 7:25 PM|
|Washington||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|San Francisco||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Seattle||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Chicago||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Houston||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|New England||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Philadelphia||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|NY Jets||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|Arizona||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|New Orleans||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Green Bay||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/15/13 7:30 PM|
|Baltimore||12/16/13 7:40 PM|
|LA Clippers||91||4th Qtr 2:10|
|Chicago||46||3rd Qtr 3:06|
|Detroit||74||4th Qtr 11:45|
|Philadelphia||81||3rd Qtr 0:04|
|San Antonio||96||4th Qtr 8:57|
|Oklahoma City||83||3rd Qtr 3:15|
|Los Angeles||1||3rd Prd 10:54|
|Philadelphia||2||2nd Prd 1:08|
|North Dakota St||73||FINAL|
|Alcorn State||47||2nd Half 0:18|
|Idaho||26||1st Half 2:48|
|Prairie View||26||1st Half 1:55|
|New Mexico St||20||1st Half 3:10|
|Weber State||26||1st Half 1:35|
|Utah Valley U||28|
|Northwestern St||6||1st Half 13:41|
|Army||12/14/13 2:00 PM|
|(12) Penn State||72||2nd Half 3:46|
|South Dakota St||78|
|Lewis-Clark State||18||2nd Half|
|Utah Valley U||33||2nd Half|