Twins Insider: Diamond's struggle makes point about Twins' rotation

He’s among a large group of pitchers competing for spots next season, but there’s nobody who looks like the No. 1 guy, or even No. 2.

Lefthander Scott Diamond is back with the Twins and has a chance to boost his status for next year’s rotation, but he forgot to pack one of his keys when he flew in from Class AAA Rochester — the key to unlocking the outer half of the plate.

Unable to hit his spots the way he needs to, Diamond was knocked out in the fifth inning Thursday in the Twins’ 8-2 loss to Oakland. Diamond looked at the tape of his performance and realized that if he had thrown strikes on the inner half of the plate, especially to righthanded hitters, he would have set them up for pitches on the outside corner — or even off the plate.

The old saying goes, “pitch inside for show, pitch outside for dough.” But Diamond nibbled at the insider corner and missed frequently. It was one of his problems when he was sent down after an outing on Aug. 1.

“I was missing three, four, five inches off, which is not effective for me,” said Diamond, who is 5-11 with a 5.61 ERA in 21 starts. “I need to work closer to the plate. That would lead to more effectiveness and being able to put more hitters away.”

The Athletics scored four runs in the third inning en route to winning the final two games of the three-game series at Target Field. The big blow was a two-run triple by Yoenis Cespedes on a ball that center fielder Alex Presley got turned around on.

Should Diamond be judged differently because of the misplay?

“It was still a rocket off the wall,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Let’s not forget that ball was crushed.”

There’s always something to play for in September. For Diamond and most of the other starters, it’s for the Twins to want them around next season.

The list of contenders for spots in the rotation is a long one — and could change considerably before the Twins face the White Sox on March 31 in the 2014 opener at U.S. Cellular Field.

Righthander Kevin Correia is the only starter under contract for 2014; he’s scheduled to make $5.5 million next season. The Twins are getting their money’s worth, as Correia is 9-11 and closing in on 180 innings.

Here are the rest of the pitchers who have started for the Twins this season: Diamond, Mike Pelfrey, Samuel Deduno, Kyle Gibson, Vance Worley, Pedro Hernandez, P.J. Walters, Andrew Albers and Liam Hendriks.

Walters could leave as a minor league free agent. Pelfrey will be a free agent and wants to return. The list doesn’t include prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May, who both should be in spring training camp with an outside chance to make the team. The other pitchers are under Twins control for next season.

That’s enough for a six-man rotation for both the Twins and Class AAA Rochester. The problem is that list lacks front-line talent.

Even if the Twins will take a hard look at Meyer or May — both have the potential to be strikeout pitchers in the majors — they must head into the offseason looking for someone to pitch toward the front of the rotation while trying to figure out who among the cast from this season should be brought back in 2014.

“If there’s people out there better than what we have, then you have to consider them,” Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. “Sometimes you have turnover and sometimes you don’t.”

The Twins entered Thursday with a starters ERA of 5.06, the worst in baseball. That screams turnover, Terry.

A roster can improve with development, but it also improves by bringing in top-end talent and pushing everyone else down. There can’t be another offseason of adding rotation stabilizers — the Twins already have plenty of those now in Diamond & Co.

It would be wrong to think that all of their answers to their pitching questions can be found in-house.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
ArizonaA. Chafin (0-0)000
MinnesotaK. Gibson (12-11)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - B. Colon 6:05 PM
Washington - T. Roark
Baltimore - U. Jimenez 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy
Kansas City - Y. Ventura 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:07 PM
Toronto - R. Dickey
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Price
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 6:10 PM
Miami - H. Alvarez
Pittsburgh - G. Cole 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - J. Cueto
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb 6:10 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Houston - B. Oberholtzer 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Martinez
St. Louis - S. Miller 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Arizona - A. Chafin 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Columbus
Boston 6:30 PM
Montreal
Nashville 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Toronto
Detroit 7:30 PM
Chicago
San Jose 8:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close