After a loss to the Angels on Monday, the Minnesota Twins are still winless – the only winless team in the AL. The first three of those losses came against another pretty awful team in the Baltimore Orioles – leading credence to the suggestion – early in the season though it is – that the Twins might in fact be the worst team in the AL. Through the first 4, the Twins scored only 6 runs… but at least their pitching staff isn’t that bad, right?
Now Twinkie fans get some of the worst possible news: potential ace Scott Baker needs elbow surgery and will miss the remainder of the season. That’s not quite as bad as losing Francisco Liriano, but it’s pretty close. And on the Liriano front – hopes (due to his stellar spring training numbers) that Liriano’s inconsistent 2011 was well behind him weren’t exactly vindicated by the 5 earned in 4 innings from his first start.
Before his elbow problems began in the middle of 2011 – Baker had seemed to finally be putting things together: with a 3.14 ERA and a K/BB ratio of almost 4. Over 159 career starts, the 30-year-old Baker had managed a 3.95 FIP. He stands to become a free agent following the season – so this couldn’t have come at a worse time for Baker either. Come winter he’ll be another one of those high-risk, low-cost injury rebound candidates signing an incentive-laden one-year deal.
As everybody is well aware, Twins hopes of simply not being the worst team a bad division rest on the health of their two high profile offensive stars. At least they can be comforted in knowing that Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer have played in all four games – but only Morneau has actually hit. Actually Morneau is one of only two Twins who have put up acceptable offensive numbers thus far (along with Josh Willingham). The team as a whole has an OPS of .492.