The Twins sent Hendriks down to AAA to make room for Scott Diamond on the active roster. In sending Hendriks down, the Twins tacitly endorsed Hernandez as someone who can handle the 5th starter job for the foreseeable future. In a season where I have nothing but low expectations, I can't really find too much fault with this decision. I would have preferred Hendriks, as I feel he has more upside, but I can understand why this decision was made.
Hendriks is the exact type of pitcher who frustrates the Twins' coaching staff and Pedro Hernandez is the exact type of pitcher who endears himself to the Twins' coaching staff. Hendriks works slowly and throws a lot of pitches. He keeps the defense on the field for a long time and taxes the bullpen. While his second start was much better than his first, the team clearly decided that he can work out his issues in AAA. Although, Hendriks has pretty much proven all he can in AAA, so I'm not sure it will help his development a whole lot. Hernandez works quicker and allows his defense make plays. I think the Twins prefer that type of pitcher, especially when results aren't going to be great regardless of who pitches.
Diamond made his 2013 debut on Saturday, and looked good for the first four innings before getting hit hard in the 5th. He gave up six straight hits, although one should have been an error on Trevor Plouffe (more on that below). Diamond, and the rest of the Twins' starting staff for that matter, doesn't get a lot of strikeouts. When a pitcher relies on batted balls to get outs, they are more prone to these types of big innings. If balls keep finding holes, hits can pile up in succession.
Diamond was successful last year because he limited base runners by limiting walks and by stranding a high percentage of the runners he allowed. I feel Diamond can be successful, if he maintains his numbers from 2012 and you can ready why here. Nothing seemed different yesterday, as Diamond didn't walk a batter and only really had one bad inning. He only had one strikeout as well, and that heavy reliance on batted=ball outs can make for volatile outings here and there.
Trevor Plouffe's defense
Plouffe's defense has been pretty shaky this year. On Friday, he let a ball go right through his legs and on Saturday, he charged a slow ground ball, fielded it with his glove and dropped it while transferring to throw. The first play was an error and the second should have been an error. In addition, while he hasn't made any crazy, errant, Plouffe-throws, he hasn't been super accurate either. His throws are often very high, well over Morneau's head, but not too high to sail into the crowd. If he loses accuracy on his throws, his defense will have deteriorated to a level where it would be hard to imagine Plouffe on this team much beyond next season. This is certainly something to monitor.
Ryan Doumit shaved his heavy beard prior to Friday's game. That seems like bad timing, considering how cold it was this weekend. While many players wore ski masks, Doumit could have simply just used that manly beard. No real analysis here, just a thought. I can't grow a beard, so yeah.
Harvey was excellent on Saturday, taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning. Mets fans are probably secretly happy that he lost his no-hitter, as every single Mets starter to throw a no-hitter has had major shoulder issues. This is obviously a ridiculous argument. Other than Harvey, I was most impressed with Ruben Tejada. Tejada has good speed, plays good defense and has good plate discipline. He is young, cheap and talented. Not bad.
Other MLB Thoughts
Baseball brawls are exciting in the moment and then I almost always hate that they exist after the fact. Zack Greinke was injured because Carlos Quentin decided to charge the mound, disregarding the fact that he gets hit by pitches while eating and sleeping. While it did look like Greinke antagonized him a bit, the decision to charge was Quentin's alone. I didn't think Quentin should have been punished more because Greinke was injured, but maybe he should have been punished more severely to try to cut down on these types of altercations. Baseball is fantastic enough without brawls.
Berkman is having a great season at the age of 63. Sorry, I can't resist a Lance Berkman is old joke. However, Berkman has been a nice addition to the Rangers' lineup. He has posted a .500 OBP and has shown good power. He is just a DH now, and won't play much in National League parks. When he is in the lineup, he can actually replace a decent amount of Josh Hamilton's value. While he isn't the dynamic player that Hamilton is (was?), he will certainly help Texas' offense when healthy. Plus, I just love the nickname "Big Puma."
Slowey had his third start of the season on Sunday, and probably pitched his worst game of the season. He went 5.1 innings, gave up nine hits, two walks, one earned run, while striking out four batters. His season numbers are decent, although he gave up too many hits on Sunday. It will be interesting to see what his numbers look like after about 10 starts. Hopefully he gets a win soon too. He hasn't won a game since September 18, 2000.
Have a nice week everyone!