Tag: Scott Diamond

MLB All-Star Game 2012: Breaking Down the Minnesota Twins’ Representative

When your favorite team stinks, it leads to a heated discussion over who should be the “best of the worst” and be the representative for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

The rule requiring that one player from every team must be in the event has lead to healthy debate and getting somebody like Ron Coomer to rub elbows with people who deserve to be there.

With the Minnesota Twins stuck at the bottom of the American League Central with a 24-35 record, the debate has opened as to whom should represent the team in Kansas City on July 10.

In my mind, there are three players that have the credentials to be put on the All-Star roster.

The first player, and most likely the front-runner, is Josh Willingham. “The Willinghammer” is currently second among American League outfielders in OPS (.969) behind Josh Hamilton. His .289 average is third on the team behind Ben Revere and Joe Mauer

Willingham has also provided several clutch hits for the Twins and has become the first Twin to solve the mystery of Target Field as he’s hit eight of his 12 bombs at the Twins’ home ballpark. For a team that has had it’s fair share of weird excuses, Willingham has been a pure power hitter.

The second candidate for the Twins could be their closer, Matt Capps. Capps is not a fan favorite in Minnesota, but he’s been having a solid season outside of a couple bad outings.

Capps is 14-for-15 in save opportunities this season and has boasted an opponent average of .233. Although Capps has made several games interesting late, he’s done his job well and could be rewarded with a trip to Kansas City.

Finally, there’s the pitcher that’s lead the Twins to a better stretch of play recently in Scott Diamond. The Twins acquired Diamond prior to the 2010 season and stashed him in Triple-A for a couple of seasons.

After making seven starts for the Twins last year (1-5, 5.08 ERA), Diamond made adjustments and is arguably their best pitcher with a record of 5-1 in seven starts.

No rookie pitcher has had a better start to their career than Diamond has, as his 1.61 ERA is a franchise-low for a rookie pitcher. Diamond has also cut down on the runners he’s let on base total including walking just four batters in 44.1 innings entering Tuesday.

While the Twins haven’t set the world on fire in the first half of the season, it’s safe to say that they’ll be sending somebody more qualified than Coomer was when he made his 1999 All-Star appearance. If it’s up to you, who would you choose to represent the Twins in the All-Star game?

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Scott Diamond Is the Reason for the Minnesota Twins Turnaround

For the Minnesota Twins, things are stating to look up. With their win over the Cubs on Saturday, they won their fourth consecutive series—an impressive feat considering they have only one seven-series all season.

Granted this success comes at the expense of Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland and the Cubs. With the exception of the Cubs, all of these teams still have a better record than the Twins.

The single-biggest reason for the Twins turnaround can be pinpointed to one player—starting pitcher Scott Diamond.

Before Diamond joined the rotation, the Twins were the last team in baseball to win their 10th game of the season, taking 25 games to achieve the mark. With his win over the Cubs on Saturday, the last team in baseball still trying to get to 20 wins, Diamond now leads the Twins with a 5-1 record and a 1.61 ERA.

Before Diamond (BD) the Twins were 7-21, winning only one of nine series. After Diamond joined the rotation (AD) they are 17-13 winning six of their last 11 series.

Diamond has stepped in and provided the kind of leadership the Twins have been waiting for from fellow left-hander, Francisco Liriano for the past five seasons. he has become Minnesota’s stopper, with the Twins winning six of his seven starts since taking his first turn in the rotation on May 8th, a 5-0 win over the Angels.

At one time the worst team in baseball, the Twins have won eight of their last 10 games and find themselves just one-half game behind the Royals and only 2.5 games behind the disappointing Tigers in the AL Central standings.

The Twins have passed the Cubs and Padres for the worst record and currently have the same record as the Rockies, the same number of wins as the Royals and just a half game behind the Astros.

OK, so they still have a long way to, but as I stated at the beginning, things are starting to look up.

Diamond’s lift to the starting pitching has had a ripple effect through the team.

Twins starters were 5-17 with a 6.75 ERA BD, compared to 11-10 and a 5.28 ERA AD.

In the 28 games BD, the Twins scored 96 runs averaging 3.4 runs per game. The problem is they allowed their opponents to score 158 runs, an 5.6 runs per game average.

In the 30 games AD, they have averaged almost two more runs per contest, scoring 160 runs for a 5.3 average. Their runs allowed has dropped by more than a full run per game to a 4.4 average. 

In 1991, the Twins found themselves in a similar situation. They finished the month of May in fifth place, 5.5 games behind in the AL West. When the calendar turned to June, they rattled off 15 straight wins on their way to a 22-6 mark that propelled them to first place in the division.

This season, at the start of June, the Twins were five games back and in fifth place in the AL Central. With the sixth win of the month they have already matched their win total in April.

In 1991, it was Jack Morris who led Twins starters going 6-0 in June. So far this year, Diamond is 2-0 in June.

While it’s a nice dream to think about the Twins catching the rest of the AL Central, the truth is, in 1991 the Twins along with a solid month from Morris, had Scott Erickson go 5-1 and Kevin Tapani add another three wins that June.

Diamond might have some help from P.J. Walters who joined the rotation in May. Walters is 2-1 in six starts with a 4.42 ERA, and the Twins are 4-2 in his starts.

After Walters, there’s no other Twins starter with a winning record. The next closest is Cole DeVries with a 1-1 record in three starts with a 4.20 ERA. Unfortunately, the Twins sent him back to Rochester.

Whatever Diamond is doing to be effective it’s contagious—after all Nick Blackburn is 2-0 in his three starts AD, all wins for the Twins. 

If he can turn Blackburn into a winner, then anything is possible.

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