Sunday, May 21, 2006

Kyle Lohse Fought the Law and the Law Won

Now that it is generally known that Minnesota SP Kyle Lohse was caught criticizing the Twins defense before he was punished by being sent packing to AAA Rochester, it becomes clear that Lohse has tested the limits of manager Ron Gardenhire's unwritten law against clubhouse backbiting. Gardenhire will tolerate infielders failing to stretch for grounders, routine balls making it into outfield, muffed catches, throwing errors and just about anything else except one thing: telling the truth about how poor they are playing. Oh, sure, Lohse, 27, is minding his P's and Q's now, having won his first game as the Red Wings only $4 million a year pitcher. But even after throwing 69 of his 112 pitches for strikes, walking one and striking out four in the outing, it may be too little too late. In fact, who is to say Lohse's victory shouldn't be credited to a crack minor league defense behind him, now that he has escaped Minneapolis? The Twins infield, long the foundation of the franchise, has no infielders ranked in the top 25, and is accountable not only for the collapse of Lohse, but the failure of highly regarded innings eater Carlos Silva. Silva, who won 14 games only two years ago, was demoted to the bullpen when he could no longer depend on double plays being turned behind him, and became a little too skittish in his delivery. Ironically, Lohse and Silva may never make it back to the rotation now that strikout pitchers Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser have replaced them. Liriano and Bonser don't depend as much on defense as Lohse and Silva, Liriano having given up only two hits and a run while whiffing five in five innings in his last start, and Bonser having struck out eight while allowing just one run in six innings in his.

1 comment:

margin said...

while the Twins defense -- especially on the left side -- certainly isn't the best in the world, the claim that it is to blame for Lohse and Silva's troubles is laughable. both have had serious control problems (Lohse's K/BB was an abysmal 24/19) and had given up way too many home runs (Silva: 2.81 HR/9!) -- all of which are isolated traits that are completely independent of any defensive interaction. many of us Twins fans were clamoring for Lohse to be traded long before the advent of Batista/Castro; and Silva's 2005 was a career, one might even say fluke year, not the norm. blaming their horrendous pitching on the Twins defense is, at best, an egregious misplacement of the blame. if i didn't know better, i'd have thought your comments were satire, they're so far off the mark. that said, Batista should never even have been signed, and Cuddyer should be playing third, and Bartlett should be at shortstop instead of Castro (whose big problem isn't defense, but offense). so yes, the Twins could use better defense on the left side, but Lohse/Silva deserve all the blame they've gotten for their pathetic starts this year.