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

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
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 Twins player are you most interested in during spring training?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close