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.
|Kansas City - LP: B. Chen||1||FINAL|
|Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber||5|
|Cincinnati - WP: T. Cingrani||2||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - LP: B. Cumpton||1|
|Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana||4||FINAL|
|Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer||7|
|St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn||1||FINAL|
|NY Mets - WP: B. Colon||4|
|Minnesota - WP: R. Nolasco||9||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - LP: E. Bedard||7|
|Arizona - WP: M. Bolsinger||5||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson||2|
|San Diego - WP: A. Torres||4||FINAL|
|Washington - LP: C. Stammen||3|
|Baltimore - WP: B. Norris||11||FINAL|
|Toronto - LP: B. Cecil||4|
|NY Yankees - WP: C. Sabathia||14||FINAL|
|Boston - LP: F. Doubront||5|
|Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir||10||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer||1|
|Philadelphia - WP: M. Adams||7||FINAL|
|Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson||3|