"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Monday, April 04, 2005

Your 2005 Twins: the Rotation

"The real test comes when you are pitching with men on bases. Do not worry. Try to appear jolly and unconcerned. I have smiled often with the bases full with two strikes and three balls on the batter. This seems to unnerve."
--Rube Foster
You know you've got a contending team when the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner is your number two starter.

We have here a good staff with the potential for greatness. Meet the boys:

Brad Radke:
His Honor, The Ace. And rightly so. Radke tends to come out of the gate slowly, unimpressive early in the season, but he hits his stride at or before the break and is exactly the guy you want out there when the younger starters are flagging in the dog days of summer, wearied by the long run of a contending season. The quintessential control pitcher, Radke uses pinpoint control and a wily mix of pitches in place of raw "stuff". No worries here, not for me.

Johan Santana:
Two words: Cy Young. The Twins only lefty starter, but many teams would trade two to get him. And he's only, what, twenty-six? Hot damn.

Carlos Silva:
The two-pitch wonder. Word is his changeup (pitch the third) is improving, though. He throws mostly a fastball and a deadly sinker. He doesn't strike guys out and relies heavily on his defense. "Ground ball pitcher" is an understatement. When he starts getting more air balls than ground balls, worry. A lot. Can he repeat his success of 2004, or has he been figured out? Stay tuned. One note: I'm looking for more complete games out of Carlos this year. He's built for them--young, strong, pitches better as the game goes on (he tends to come out "too strong" and overthrow in the early innings), and throws fewer pitches per inning, by quite a margin, than anyone else in the rotation.

Kyle Lohse:
When I think of Kyle, the first thing that pops to mind is what a friend of mine, a loyal Lohse fan, said mid-season last year: "Whenever hope rears its ugly head, Lohse will be there." He's been Mr. Consistency the last two years--consistently unstable. He's got brilliant "stuff" and no idea what to do with it. He needs to get a clue this season--he can't ride on a good 2002 forever. If he can get his "stuff", his rational mind and his emotions on the same page, he could be excellent.

Joe Mays:
Back from Tommy John surgery and fresh off a better-than-expected spring training, "Joltin' Joe" Mays is hoping to jolt batters, not his ERA, this time around. He didn't pitch at all last year, and frankly sucked in 2003. The elbow problems that have dogged him for so long have reportedly disappeared thanks to the surgery, however, and if anything resembling the 2001 All-Star edition Mays takes the mound this season, it'll be more than enough.

2004 Stats
Brad RadkeR3.48219.21.161432615.21
Johan SantanaL2.612280.922655415.02
Carlos SilvaR4.212031.43763514.26
Kyle LohseR5.341941.631117617.16
Joe Mays*R6.301301.52503915.45
league average 4.63--1.42----16.46
* did not play in 2004. Stats shown are for 2003.
IP = Innings Pitched, WHIP = Walks & Hits Per Inning Pitched
P/IP = Pitches Thrown Per Inning Pitched

On deck: the bullpen

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