I’d like to have $5 for every e-mail or Tweet received in a 24-hour period starting last Sunday at mid-afternoon, making either the suggestion or the statement that Ricky Nolasco was the second coming of Vance Worley for the Twins.
If I had those Abe Lincolns, I might have enough extra money to take the bride out to dinner at a neighborhood restaurant, and even cover the tip.
Nolasco, the recipient of the largest contract for an outside free agent in franchise history, had lasted only 10 innings in his first two starts. He had allowed 17 hits and 10 earned runs combined in a loss in the season opener at Chicago and last Sunday’s no-decision in Cleveland.
I saw a pitcher in Nolasco who clearly had no feel for his pitches. I figured it was the cold, leading to an inability to get the required grip to be a strike thrower. Nolasco said it was due to his right shoulder “flying open.’’
Either way, I didn’t see a guy with no life on his pitches – no zip on the fastball, no bite on the curve – which is what Worley brought last spring. And he brought that, virtually nothing, from the first time he took the mound in an exhibition game.
The Twins watched Worley’s lifeless stuff throughout March 2013, and yet they were so desperate that they broke him out as the Opening Day starter on April 1 vs. Detroit at Target Field.
Worley was the veteran acquisition in the trade of Ben Revere to Philadelphia and … well, the Twins couldn’t make themselves believe he was as bad as what they had seen in Fort Myers.
It was similar to 2011, when the Twins watched infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka make some amazingly unaware plays in the field, and take endlessly awful at-bats lefthanded, and couldn’t believe that he was that bad.
Lo and behold, they found out he actually was worse.
Worley managed to foot fault his way through six innings and allowed three runs on a frigid day in a loss to Detroit. In his second start, he went five innings and allowed five runs (four earned) vs. Baltimore.
After two starts, Worley had worked 11 innings, allowing 18 hits and eight runs (seven runs). His actual numbers were marginally less awful than Nolasco’s in the first two starts.
Thus, here came the e-mails and Tweets declaring Nolasco another great folly committed by the Twins’ front office.
Worley made his third start for the Twins on April 12, 2013 at Target Field. He went one inning vs. the New York Mets, allowing seven hits, nine runs (seven earned) and leaving his ERA at 10.50.
Nolasco made his third start for the Twins on April 12, 2014 at Target Field. He went eight innings vs. Kansas City, allowed five hits, one run and lowered his ERA to 5.50.
It’s in vogue to bash the Twins. I’ve maybe done a modicum of it myself.
Still, relax folks, because while Ricky Nolasco isn’t going to be right-handed Johan Santana for the Twins, any comparison to Vance Worley will be equally outrageous.