• Starting Pitching Issues and Options

    As PJ Walters walked slowly off the field with a trainer in the top of the first after failing to get an out through the game’s first four batters thoughts immediately jumped to the Twins’ starting rotation. Scott Diamond will be on the mound on Thursday in the series finale versus the Phillies. Francisco Liriano and Nick Blackburn are back in the rotation after missing starts. Carl Pavano is on the Disabled List. PJ Walters will have an MRI on his shoulder on Thursday. Who will make upcoming starts for the Twins and is there any help in the Rochester starting rotation?

    Here is a look at the Twins and Red Wings upcoming schedules:
    Day Twins Starter Red Wings starter
    Thursday, June 14 Scott Diamond Luke French
    Friday, June 15 Francisco Liriano Liam Hendriks?
    Saturday, June 16 Liam Hendriks? Cole De Vries
    Sunday, June 17 Nick Blackburn Matt Maloney
    Monday, June 18 No Game Scheduled Sam Deduno
    Tuesday, June 19 ? Luke French
    Wednesday, June 20 ? Liam Hendriks?
    Thursday, June 21 ? Cole De Vries
    Friday, June 22 ? Matt Maloney
    Saturday, June 23 ? Sam Deduno
    Sunday, June 24 ? Luke French

    We have all heard that it appears that Liam Hendriks (turned 23 in February) will be called up to start for the Twins on Saturday. In fact, if you look at Yahoo! Sports schedule, it lists Hendriks as the Twins scheduled starter for Saturday. However, as of late Wednesday night, Hendriks had not yet been informed that he would be promoted. As he is also scheduled to start for Rochester on Friday, he will have to be told on Thursday. Hendriks is currently 5-0 with a 1.94 ERA with the Red Wings. In 46.1 innings, he has given up just 29 hits, walked 13 and struck out 42.

    Let’s make an assumption that Hendriks will start for the Twins on Saturday, the Red Wings will need a starter for Friday. The Red Wings have already had 14 pitchers start a game for the team this season. Bullpen guys like Brendan Wise and Esmerling Vasquez have made spot starts in Bullpen games. It is also possible that David Bromberg (25 until September) could come off of the 7-Day Disabled List to start. He last pitched for the Red Wings on June 2nd. After a rough start to his season in the New Britain bullpen, Bromberg earned his promotion to the Red Wings in late May. He made two starts before going on the DL with right shoulder tendonitis. If Bromberg is not able to go, righty Steve Hirschfeld could be brought up to start for the Red Wings. The 26-year-old threw five shutout innings for Rochester in a spot start last week. The other option would be 22-year-old BJ Hermsen who is 4-2 with a 2.59 ERA in eight starts for the Rock Cats.

    So, if PJ Walters can’t start for the Twins next Tuesday, who will? I think because of the off day on Monday, the Twins would go with just four starters this time through the rotation with Diamond starting again on Tuesday on regular rest. If that’s the case, the next time the Twins would need a starter would be Saturday, June 23, in Cincinnati. Could Walters be ready then? Is there any chance that Carl Pavano would be ready to come off the Disabled List by then? As of now, the answer to both questions would likely be no.

    I think we can also assume that the Twins would not consider going to 13 pitchers on the staff during their games in National League ball parks.

    So here is an update on the other Red Wings starters and others the Twins could use to start that game (again, making the assumption that Liam Hendriks will come up and start Saturday):

    Jeff Manship
    – He went three innings on Wednesday night. When he was starting in Rochester, he was the team’s top starter (of those not promoted), posting an ERA of 3.08.

    Anthony Swarzak
    – He has already made several spot starts for the Twins this year. The team clearly prefers him to be in the bullpen.

    Brian Duensing
    – for some reason his name keeps coming up as a starting option despite the fact that he’s done a terrific job out of the bullpen and wouldn’t be stretched out at this point.

    Cole De Vries
    (27 until February) – He was just optioned to Rochester on June 7, days after recording his first big league Win. He last started for the Red Wings on Sunday and gave up six runs on six hits in just two innings. His overall Rochester numbers this year are 1-5 with a 5.18 ERA. He’s given up 53 hits in 48 innings. He is on the 40 man roster.

    Matt Maloney
    (28 until January) – Maloney was removed from the Twins 25 and 40 man rosters in early May. He cleared waivers and was sent to Rochester. He pitched twice out of the bullpen before moving into the starting rotation. He is 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA. In 18.2 innings, he has given up 31 hits, walked two and struck out 13. His most recent start was on Monday, and he gave up six runs (3 earned) on five hits in just two innings.

    Luke French
    (26 until September) – French went a combined 9-12 in 31 games (25 starts) for the Tigers and the Mariners in 2009 and 2010. The Twins signed him right before spring training to a minor league contract. He made five starts in New Britain before moving up to Rochester. The lefty has made seven starts for the Red Wings and is 1-1 with a 4.03 ERA. In 38 innings, he has given up 32 hits, walked 17 and struck out 23. However, he has not given up more than two runs in his last four starts (1-1, 2.05 ERA).

    Sam Deduno
    (28 until July 2) – The Twins signed the minor league free agent and invited him to spring training. He left his April 27th start after walking the first two batters and was put on the disabled list with right shoulder tendonitis. On Tuesday, he made his return and threw four scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit, walked three and struck out five. On the year, he is 0-1 with a 3.15 ERA. In 20 innings, he has given up 15 hits, walked 11 and struck out 18. He pitched in four games for the Rockies in 2010, and two games for the Padres in 2011.

    With all of the above, I believe this is what the upcoming schedule will look like:
    Day Twins Starter Red Wings starter
    Thursday, June 14 Scott Diamond Luke French
    Friday, June 15 Francisco Liriano Steve Hirschfeld
    Saturday, June 16 Liam Hendriks Cole De Vries
    Sunday, June 17 Nick Blackburn Matt Maloney
    Monday, June 18 No Game Scheduled Sam Deduno
    Tuesday, June 19 Scott Diamond Luke French
    Wednesday, June 20 Francisco Liriano Steve Hirschfeld
    Thursday, June 21 Liam Hendriks Cole De Vries
    Friday, June 22 Nick Blackburn Matt Maloney
    Saturday, June 23 Jeff Manship Sam Deduno
    Sunday, June 24 Scott Diamond Luke French


    Of course, this is the great game of baseball which means anything can happen, and all of the above thought may be out the window! Any thoughts on the Twins upcoming rotation? Any thoughts on the Red Wings rotation? Any wonder why the Red Wings are struggling again in 2012?

    This article was originally published in blog: Starting Pitching Issues and Options started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Jeff Manship – He went three innings on Wednesday night. When he was starting in Rochester, he was the team’s top starter (of those not promoted), posting an ERA of 3.08.
      Not quite... Hendriks was and then French was pretty close and Deduno has been better but he was on the DL at the time, thus allowing Manship to start. What he has shown these 4 games this season is exactly the same he has shown in 30 games parts of the previous 3 seasons: nothing much
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Hendriks was... Deduno was hurt. Diamond and Walters were already promoted. French's first starts with the Red Wings were not good.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      I would go with Manship or French. Neither of those choices make me happy and I think they would both get rocked.
    1. chuchadoro's Avatar
      chuchadoro -
      Since the question is basically "What kind of turd sandwich do you want?", it makes sense to make a move that causes as little disruption to the roster as possible (someone off the 40 man). They keep Duensing in the bullpen, he has found his niche. DeVries just got sent down, he's out of it. Manship is the logical choice IMO.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by chuchadoro View Post
      Since the question is basically "What kind of turd sandwich do you want?", it makes sense to make a move that causes as little disruption to the roster as possible (someone off the 40 man). They keep Duensing in the bullpen, he has found his niche. DeVries just got sent down, he's out of it. Manship is the logical choice IMO.
      I agree--give Manship a start or two and hope Pavano will be ready ASAP.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      DeVries is on the 40-man. There are currently two open spots. But then a position player or a eliever would have to go, too (Gray, Manship, Oliveros or Parmelee). I'd say French be placed in the mix nest.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Walters will get DL to make room for Oliveros. They will inform Hendricks after tonight's game (if it gets played) that he will be recalled to start Saturday or Sunday (depending on the status of tonight's game). They will want the extra bat on the bench when we go to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati next week so Parmelee won't be sent down. They will probably send Oliveros back down after Friday's game as the bullpen will be sufficiently rested again. With the off days the next 2 Mondays we only need an extra starter for next Saturday and the DH the following Saturday (I believe with the new CBA you can expand the roster for a DH). I would give Manship the start next Saturday and wait and see for the DH.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Dick Bremer and the other Twins paid media people have been pushing the idea that the Twins are back and ready to contend. Now if they believe this and are not just trying to mantain fan interest they must think they should be buyers. Now giving them the benifit of the doubt if they play .600 baseball the last 101 games they could make it to 85 wins. However, they certainly can't do that with this starting staff or the guys from AAA. That would mean buying which imo would be really stupid and even if you're that delusional what would you use to trade for the pitching? Sano, Hicks? It really has to go back to the off season, cutting payroll and leaving the starting staff poorly constructed and with very little talent and that was done by the guy in charge of fixing this mess. Does anyone have faith in Ryan to do that?
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      Dick Bremer and the other Twins paid media people have been pushing the idea that the Twins are back and ready to contend. Now if they believe this and are not just trying to mantain fan interest they must think they should be buyers. Now giving them the benifit of the doubt if they play .600 baseball the last 101 games they could make it to 85 wins. However, they certainly can't do that with this starting staff or the guys from AAA. That would mean buying which imo would be really stupid and even if you're that delusional what would you use to trade for the pitching? Sano, Hicks? It really has to go back to the off season, cutting payroll and leaving the starting staff poorly constructed and with very little talent and that was done by the guy in charge of fixing this mess. Does anyone have faith in Ryan to do that?
      Yes, I do. I also suspect that the person with all the power, Mr. Pohlad, does as well.

      Please take a look at what Mr. Ryan accomplished last winter. He fixed a horrible bullpen, filled spots for two players we couldn't afford (Kubel and Cuddyer) while also plugging an infield hole with Carroll. That is one good winter. Did he fix the starting rotation, no, because that is one area which most people thought was relatively solid. No way of knowing that his top starter, Baker would miss the entire season.
    1. YLT's Avatar
      YLT -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      Dick Bremer and the other Twins paid media people have been pushing the idea that the Twins are back and ready to contend. Now if they believe this and are not just trying to mantain fan interest they must think they should be buyers. Now giving them the benifit of the doubt if they play .600 baseball the last 101 games they could make it to 85 wins. However, they certainly can't do that with this starting staff or the guys from AAA. That would mean buying which imo would be really stupid and even if you're that delusional what would you use to trade for the pitching? Sano, Hicks? It really has to go back to the off season, cutting payroll and leaving the starting staff poorly constructed and with very little talent and that was done by the guy in charge of fixing this mess. Does anyone have faith in Ryan to do that?
      This is what's tough for a team like the Twins to be in the AL Central: they get on these streaks near the middle of the season approaching the trade deadline and find themselves in no-man's land of "do we buy or sell?" based on how far back they are of whatever mediocre Detroit/Cleveland/Chicago team is ahead of them. When there is no clear cut dominating team in the AL Central, sure, the Twins might look like they could make a go of it being 5-6 games back when in truth they are not a contender in any sense beyond their division, have serious gaps in their farm system and should be sellers all the way if the right offers come knocking that fill those gaps. I don't blame Bremer or the Twins media for being fans, cheerleaders and forever optimistic. That's sort of their job for the casual fan. The average fan doesn't see the medium-long term problems the Twins face like I think many people on here do.
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      30 million dollars came off the books last year. Only 3 million of it was used to upgrade the starting pitching.
    1. sotafan's Avatar
      sotafan -
      And another 30 will come off this year. There were not alot of options out there for SP in this past offseason. Now if they fail to put some of that money towards a SP this offseason, there will be problems.

      We need to be sellers!!! There are a ton of teams that are still in contention. Not sure who we could get ASAP to fill the hole. Doubt a trade would be made unless it is a current AAA SP from a different team because Roch has NOTHING!!!!!!
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Back on topic: I think Liam Hendriks coming up is a no-brainer at this point. He's earned another shot at starting in the bigs based on his outstanding performance over the last month and a half in Rochester. That fills one slot.

      The 23rd is the slot that's up in the air at this point. Listing Manship is very reasonable, but thinking about disruptions to the major league rosters, you'd have to make some serious moves to bring up a guy like French. Remember that Cole DeVries wasn't DFA'd, he was optioned. He was optioned on the 7th, meaning he'd be eligible to come back on the 17th. So to me, DeVries and Manship are the two most likely, with Manship having the edge. In my mind, those two are comparable.
    1. James Richter's Avatar
      James Richter -
      The schedule is set up for the Twins to get away with a 4-man rotation of Diamond, Liriano, Hendriks and Blackburn for the rest of the month, with the exception of the 23rd and half of the double-header on the 30th. For those, I'd try to get 3-5 IP out of Manship, but have Duensing prepared to throw 40 or so pitches in long relief. Hopefully, between the two of them, they'd get through 6 IP and set up Burton, Perkins and Capps.

      That buys them about three weeks to figure out whether Pavano is going to be able to return at full strength. If he can't, and the Twins have pulled within 6 games of of the division leader with half the season still to play, I think the front office will be obligated to acquire another quality Major League SP somehow.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Highabove View Post
      30 million dollars came off the books last year. Only 3 million of it was used to upgrade the starting pitching.
      Not to be picky, but shouldn't the line read "attempt to upgrade"? I do not recall anyone being thrilled with the signing of Marquis. A 500 pitcher that ate innings. First time through the AL was not a good trip. I did not remember of 3 million would have bought much else.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
      Yes, I do. I also suspect that the person with all the power, Mr. Pohlad, does as well.

      Please take a look at what Mr. Ryan accomplished last winter. He fixed a horrible bullpen, filled spots for two players we couldn't afford (Kubel and Cuddyer) while also plugging an infield hole with Carroll. That is one good winter. Did he fix the starting rotation, no, because that is one area which most people thought was relatively solid. No way of knowing that his top starter, Baker would miss the entire season.
      I'm pretty sure most thought that the Twins rotation was pretty weak, even with a healthy Baker.

      There weren't a whole lot of available starters, especially those that would fit under the Twins' self-imposed salary cap. But to say most thought the rotation was relatively solid is incorrect.
    1. peterb18's Avatar
      peterb18 -
      Quote Originally Posted by YLT View Post
      This is what's tough for a team like the Twins to be in the AL Central: they get on these streaks near the middle of the season approaching the trade deadline and find themselves in no-man's land of "do we buy or sell?" based on how far back they are of whatever mediocre Detroit/Cleveland/Chicago team is ahead of them. When there is no clear cut dominating team in the AL Central, sure, the Twins might look like they could make a go of it being 5-6 games back when in truth they are not a contender in any sense beyond their division, have serious gaps in their farm system and should be sellers all the way if the right offers come knocking that fill those gaps. I don't blame Bremer or the Twins media for being fans, cheerleaders and forever optimistic. That's sort of their job for the casual fan. The average fan doesn't see the medium-long term problems the Twins face like I think many people on here do.
      I have faith in Ryan. But, not in the Pohlads! They tried to sell the team, and contract the team. They are not baseball people interested in winning. If so, we would be in contention now. Two years ago they had 93 wins and instead of taking the next step they(ownership) decided to reduce payroll and rebuild. Not what championship teams do! We are a midmarket team--we should follow the Cardinals lead!
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Hirschfeld
      Could he be an option for the Twins? He pitched yesterday. He has been up and down from AAA to AA. He is not young and is doing well this year.
      He has not been overmatched at AAA.

      Hermsen would be a disaster at this point. He needs to learn how to limit his hits and learn how to pitch against better competition.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      Hirschfeld
      Could he be an option for the Twins? He pitched yesterday. He has been up and down from AAA to AA. He is not young and is doing well this year.
      He has not been overmatched at AAA.

      Hermsen would be a disaster at this point. He needs to learn how to limit his hits and learn how to pitch against better competition.
      I don't think Hirschfeld is a possibility, but I guess stranger things could happen.

      Not sure about your comments on Hermsen though. "Needs to learn how to limit his hits?" He's given up 52 hits in 55.2 innings in AA. That's pretty good, especially for a non-strikeout hitter. "learn how to pitch against better competition?" He's been the top AA pitcher since moving up at the beginning of May. Of course he has to keep learning and then will have to learn in AAA and eventually will have to learn how to pitch in the big leagues. But... so far so good.
    1. twinslover's Avatar
      twinslover -
      A better description for this post would be "Many Starting Pitching Issues, No Viable Options"
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