Every time I turn on ESPN, or visit ESPN.com, I see some comment about Joba Chamberlain making a start for the Yankees. He is consistently lauded as the best pitcher to enter New York since Babe Ruth (I didn't hear that verbatim, but the magnitude of media coverage basically infers it). His numbers in his five starts are great, too.
As Barack Obama or John McCain will no doubt tell you, things need to be put into context here. Yes, he has a 1.8 ERA in his five starts. Yes, he's struck out 26 batters in 25 innings.
But wait, 25 innings? They've dubbed him the ace of the future Yankees because he pitched an average of 5 innings a game, for five starts? Against 5 teams with losing records? Seems quite unproven to me.
I understand his bullpen numbers are spectacular...however, the Yankees better hope this pays off big time--but hey, underperformance has been a tradition in the Bronx for 5+ years now, top payroll in the league and all.
Maybe the Yankees are that desperate. Or maybe he really will be the ace of the future, because heck, apparently Rasner was completely baffled by those pesky, strong, overpowering 37-41 Pittsburgh Pirates. I don't know, I am just a bored Twins fan who watches Sportscenter in the morning. I'm also looking at stats...never seen him actually play.
What I CAN tell you with great certainty is this--the Twins have won 9 straight, with starting pitchers with names like: Livan Hernandez, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn. Other than that thing last year where ESPN acknowledged that Baker was 2/3 of an inning away from a perfect game, casual sports fans never have heard of any of these pitchers in day-to-day life.
It's so clear that the Twins are without an ace; that is blatantly obvious. Who would it be? Other than Livan, arguably the worst of the bunch, none of these guys were even starters in 2006 or before!
Starters for the Twins average 6 innings per start, and average an ERA of 4.92. They also have 265 strikeouts and 65 walks this year. The eye-popping stat hasn't been updated through the Twins' 9th game of their winning streak, but through 8 Twins' starters were 7-0 with about a 1.95 ERA, and the one no decision was the fault of Jesse Crain.
The Yankees? 5 1/3 innings per start and a 4.40 ERA. Good, all that work and my stats neither proved nor disproved my theory.
The Yankees have been really good at protecting the stats of their starting pitching...not to mention they're also rather indecisive! The Yanks have had 10 different starting pitchers, the Twins just 7.
In any case, here's some proof. I'm guessing the Yanks rotation hasn't put up a 8-0 record in their last 9 games, just like they don't have a 1.95 ERA--thank you Pittsburgh for making those statistics impossible!
It's enough for me to tell you that the Twins have done a remarkable thing this year in even being able to compare statistics with the Yankees' rotation. As I said last time the Bombers were in town, "Ah good, it's always nice to watch a Yankee I've never heard of." (I think I said this twice, referring once to Betemit and once to Farnsworth.) I know we've beaten the over-covered Yankees topic to death, but the world doesn't need to hear all that they hear about the Yankees' rotation--which at this point is basically just Joba.
The Twins, on the other hand, have a rotation that has potential to be remarkable, and what's more, they have the potential to be 5 guys (once Liriano gets up here) that shut teams down. They've put on quite an impressive show lately, and I can't imagine that stopping anytime soon.
Could you imagine if the Yankees had this rotation going? They'd be unstoppable! As it is, the Twins have 5 guys who, lately, have set themselves on course for a long-term career as a solid Twins pitcher.
The Yankees are just fanfaring their one, and letting the others fall where they may.