The Twins have used 11 starting pitchers this season; their most since employing a dozen back in 1997. At the onset of this curious campaign that finds the Boys at 69-68, the club sported the American League's third-youngest staff considering median age. Despite the soupcon of experience, and the early-August acquisition of vet Carl Pavano: these boys truly remain our Young Guns.
Further evidence of their youth - and their unique place in Twins history - could long be found in the fact that this is the first Minnesota staff since 1990 that sported none of the following: a previous 20-game winner, a Cy Young winner, or a World Series champion/MVP. Pavano won a ring with Florida back in '03.
As a means of charting said newfound rarity throughout this 2009 season, herein is the third installment of some Central casting, whereupon each staff member has been linked with the hierarchy posed by the cast of the film that, at least in name, mirrors the boys' presentation. That film is "Young Guns." (To see the April 15th ranking, please click here; to see the June 11th ranking, please click here):
"Billy" (traits: leader, fearless, brash, "Make ya' famous")
Scott Baker: Our stud, stopper and unquestioned ace, Baker hasn't lost a decision in 11 starts and has run his record up to a solid 13-7. My August Twin of the Month extended his hot streak into September with a 6 inning, 1 run win over Cleveland.
"Doc" (traits: cerebral, sensitive, moral, respected)
Nick Blackburn: In the medical business, they call it DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). That's to suggest, after his next start, the apt inflection of your inquiry should be: "How DID Nick pitch?" Blackburn was 8-4 through July 10th, but has gone 1-6 since. Three of his last four starts have been Quality outings, which is encouraging. He continues to lead the club in innings pitched at 175.1
"Chavez y Chavez" (traits: spiritual, quiet)
Carl Pavano: In 2009, Pavano has accrued his most seasonal innings pitched since 2004. As a Twin, the 33-year-old vet is a measured 2-3 with a 4.14 ERA, although he's gone at least 6 innings in five of his six starts. He'll be a free agent after the season, and likely won't be re-signed. He does have a crack at grabbing a few headlines this Wednesday as he duels with nasty Toronto ace Roy Halladay.
"Dick" (traits: cautious, loyal)
Brian Duensing: Impressive brevity for the 26-year-old rook lefty, having amassed a 2-0 record as a starter with an excellent ERA of 1.88. Quite the inverse of his 5.34 mark in 14 relief outings. His last two starts: 14 innings pitched, 1 run allowed.
"Dirty Steve" (traits: knucklehead, wayward)
Jeff Manship: A la Duensing, a mid-20's rookie who didn't offer much pen help, but has looked sharper in a starter's spikes. Manship limited the Chi Sox to a run in 5 innings back on 9/1 before giving up 3 earned in 4.1 in yesterday's win over Toronto.
Shot Down (Blaze of Glory in question):
Armando Gabino, Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins, Kevin Slowey, Anthony Swarzak
Slowey is done for the season with a bum wrist after going 10-3 with a 4.36; Perkins was optioned to Rochester post-D.L. and may file a grievance with the club regarding MLB service time ; Liriano and Gabino may see bullpen opportunity in the next month; Swarzak looked impressive early before coming to earth and getting rolled in August - he'll no doubt be around for future starts in seasons to come.