You don't hear much about it, and there's little acknowledgment of it in the Twins clubhouse, but right-hander Rick Reed is one of the few remaining scabs left in the Major Leagues from 1995's debacle with replacement players. Scab, of course, is a terrible word, but the players' union has long withheld membership to the replacement players, and for good reason. Other replacement players still active include Brian Daubach, Shane Spencer, Kevin Millar, and Damian Miller. There are only three players on the Twins' current roster (Denny Hocking, Eddie Guardado, and Brad Radke) who are holdovers from the 1994-1995 teams.
Despite losing three straight series, and going 8-9 so far in August, the Twins' earned average for the month is 3.60. Three of the team's five shutouts have come this month. The solid pitching has been largely negated by the club's offensive slump; the Twins have scored three or fewer runs seven times in August, and are averaging just under three-and-a-half runs through 17 games this month. Corey Koskie is hitting only .189 with a .226 slugging percentage in August.
Bone-Chip Bob Wells has not given up a run since coming off the disabled list. He's pitched 12 innings since the All-Star break, and given up only five hits. J.C. Romero is right back where he was at the beginning of the season. His post-All-Star ERA is .47. The team ERA is now down to 4.15, the lowest it's been since 1992.
There are only ten starting pitchers in the Major Leagues who have a lower ERA than Atlanta's team ERA of 3.02, and two of those (Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux) are Braves. When you look at the tremendous offensive explosion in baseball, and the incredible slugging performances from such players as Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Sammy Sosa, it makes some of the dominant pitching performances all the more astonishing. Seven starters in the Major Leagues have ERAs under three runs a game, led by Boston's Pedro Martinez (2.20) and Derek Lowe (2.29), who both pitch half their games in Fenway Park in a league that features the designated hitter. Arizona's Curt Schilling is still on pace to have more victories than walks; he currently has 20 wins, 250 strikeouts, and only 19 bases on balls.
Brad Zellar goes Yard every Tuesday morning--and perhaps more often--for as long as he (and the Twins) are up to it.