There's major league money to be made in the Twins rotation right now. And the club is desperate for someone to step up and earn it.
"If I was young and saw what was going on here and was a starting pitcher I'd be hungry," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Nik Turley had his chance on Friday and might have blown it.
The lefthander put the Twins in their latest big hole early and made things worse before he exited in the fifth inning of an 8-1 loss to Cleveland at Target Field. Edwin Encarnacion belted a three-run homer and Jose Ramirez added three hits in what became a one-sided AL Central showdown.
Eddie Rosario homered in the sixth for the Twins' run.
Friday marked the 13th time the Twins have lost by five or more runs. That's 20 percent of their games.
A lot of it has to do with pitching, and the Twins are left with more questions about the state of their staff, which has been depleted by injuries and gopher balls.
Three of the four starters in this series — Turley, Adalberto Mejia and Adam Wilk — have combined for 14 major league starts.
"Opportunity," Molitor said. "Hopefully someone is going to step up and get hot."
But the Twins also don't know what they are getting after Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios.
"I would love to get another opportunity," Turley said. But he is 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA, forcing the Twins to look elsewhere for help.
He gave up four runs in four innings Sunday in San Francisco, but the Twins hoped he would settle down in his second major league start.
So, Turley plunked Jason Kipnis with the third pitch of the game.
So much for that.
Turley got out of the first inning without giving up a run. Given a clean slate in the second, Turley watched all five Cleveland batters swing at his first pitch. Ramirez and Carlos Santana blooped in singles, and Yan Gomes singled to right to drive in the game's first run.
In the third, Turley walked Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor before throwing a first pitch fastball to Encarnacion. The designated hitter pummeled it into the Home Run Porch in the second deck in left to give Cleveland a 4-0 lead. The blast was estimated at 435 feet.
"You can't defend walk, walk, homer," Molitor said. "That's what's going to get you. He had a chance to keep us in the game there after the Encarnacion homer and again things kind of got away from him there."
Turley nearly got out of the fifth but issued a two-out walk to Lindor, who saw 20 pitches over his first four at bats. Ramirez followed with a double. And Santana was intentionally walked after Turley fell behind him.
Yan Gomes hit the first pitch to left for a two-run single. Lonnie Chisenhall blasted a two-run double to right. It was 8-0, and many among the announced crowd of 30,563 let their agitation be heard as Molitor had to go to the bullpen.
"I would have loved to go deep in the game," Turley said. "I know our bullpen has been eating up some innings. And that was my goal, to go deeper. It's always nice to give the bullpen a little bit of a rest, especially with the really long day tomorrow."