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.
|NY Mets||8||Top 7th Inning|
|Philadelphia||3||Bottom 9th Inning|
|Detroit||5||Bottom 8th Inning|
|Toronto||3||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Cincinnati||2||Bottom 2nd Inning|
|San Diego||0||Top 2nd Inning|
|Chicago WSox||1||Bottom 2nd Inning|
|Kansas City||6||Top 2nd Inning|
|Oakland||2||Bottom 1st Inning|
|Wisc-Milwaukee||0||Top 2nd Inning|
|Arizona||0||Top 2nd Inning|
|Univ of Minnesota||6:05 PM|
|New York||6:00 PM|
|LA Lakers||7:00 PM|
|NY Rangers||7:00 PM|
|Ohio State||5:00 PM|
|George Washington||6:00 PM|
|Notre Dame||6:00 PM|
|SE Missouri St||6:00 PM|
|St Francis-PA||6:00 PM|
|Mount St Marys|
|Long Island||6:00 PM|
|La Salle||6:00 PM|
|Sacred Heart||6:00 PM|
|Wake Forest||7:00 PM|
|St Bonaventure||7:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||7:00 PM|
|SIU Edwardsville||8:00 PM|
|St Johns||8:00 PM|
|Miss State||8:00 PM|
|Utah State||8:00 PM|
|Air Force||9:00 PM|
|Colorado State||9:00 PM|
|Boise State||9:00 PM|
|San Jose St|
|San Diego St||10:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara||10:59 PM|
|Austin Peay||18||1st Half 9:37|
|Virginia Tech||2:45 PM|
|Penn State||5:00 PM|
|Youngstown St||6:00 PM|
|Coll of Charleston||6:00 PM|
|William & Mary|
|Ball State||6:00 PM|
|Western Mich||6:00 PM|
|Ohio U||6:00 PM|
|Boston U||6:00 PM|
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