Wednesday, May 2, 2012

No Ace in the Hole

For the past ten years or so, the Minnesota Twins have preached the "pitch to contact" philosophy to it's pitching rotation which, for the better part of the decade has worked, more or less.  An entire pitching staff of Brad Radke's is what I'm sure Rick Anderson and Ron Gardenhire envision as perfection.  Always keep the ball around the strike zone.  Don't walk anyone.  Make them hit it and let your defense do their jobs.  Sounds simple enough, right?  So if it has worked for so long, why didn't it work last year and now this year?  I believe the answer comes in three parts:

1) No real ace in the rotation.

Pitch to contact works great for number 3, 4 and even 5 starters but a real ace is one who challenges the hitter not just throws it so they can hit it.  Even Brad Radke had the mental toughness to get a guy out when he needed to.

2) Pitchers are spending too much time behind in the count.

When you give major league hitters any kind of advantage, like falling behind in the count, most of the time they will crush you -- especially when you're just trying to serve one up for them to hit.

3) No consistency in the catcher's position.

Mauer was hurt most of last year and he hasn't been catching much this year.  It is extremely important for a pitching staff to have some kind of consistency behind the dish.

Of course there is also the fact that none of the Twins pitchers have any good "stuff" with the exception of a few rare Liriano sliders.

So...what's the solution?  It's very evident that the Twins need an ace and have to stop trying to get by with a bunch of 3, 4 and 5 starters.  It's just too bad....C.J. Wilson would've filled that spot neatly.

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