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James Richter

Give me an average starter

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How many Twins starting pitchers do you have confidence in? For me, the list begins and ends with Scott Diamond. How sad is that?

Check this out: Through Sunday's games, the average AL starter gives his team just under 6 IP/GS with a 4.33 ERA. The Twins have gotten just 5 1/3 IP/GS with a 6.18 ERA. With league average starting pitching, the Twins would have allowed 41 fewer ER in 34.1 more IP. That reduced workload on the bullpen (3.58 ERA) saves another 14 ER, for a total of 55 fewer RA. The resulting 210 RS and 229 RA differential produces a pythagorean record of 24-29. Hardly stellar, but with the league's most difficult opening schedule behind them they would be on pace to win at least 10 more games than last year. That's a team that still needs a lot of work, but is far from hopeless.

This weekend I was wishing there was some way the Twins could find a decent guy to hold down a spot in their decimated rotation without having to give up too much - a difficult task in the middle of the season. But the Reds have just released Jeff Francis. There's a cheap, veteran replacement for Jason Marquis (or Carl Pavano or Nick Blackburn depending on how you look at it). I never thought I'd say this, but, "Pretty please, let's sign Jeff Francis right away!"


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