Thursday, May 10, 2007

Recap 5/10/2007 Twins 0, White Sux 3

Another day, another dismal performance from the Twins offense. One night after getting no-hit by John Danks for four innings they were shut out by Jose Contreras in a five hit performance. Predictably the only hitter Twins hitter to figure out Contreras was Jason Kubel who couldn't make contact with a ball either of the last two games, striking out in pathetic fashion in three consecutive clutch plate appearances. Today he was 2-3 and had the Twins only extra base hit, a double to the gap in right-center. Its been that sort of year for the Twins. It's not a total lack of hitting, or getting guys in base, its purely been a problem of driving those runs in. This is a fact that I've spoken about at length all year long and I wont bore you by repeating it ad nauseum.

Rather today I'd like to speak about how pleased I am by the performance of Carlos Silva. Putting aside the fact that the White Sox came into this series with the worst batting average in baseball, Silva had yet another quality start, his fifth such performance this season. He also had a very good five inning performance in Chicago at the beginning of this season where he surrendered only one run. While he didn't strike anyone out tonight, he only surrendered six hits and one walk.

In the minds of many Silva should never have made the trip to Minnesota after spring training this year, and by all accounts he was a disaster with an ERA over 11. However in what appears to be a complete opposite of the Kyle Lohse experience this year, Silva has managed to turn a miserable spring into a fantastic early season. While his win loss of 2-3 doesn't sparkle, his 3.00 ERA and 1.38 WHIP through seven games is way beyond even the most ambitious hopes of Twins fans. However there are causes for concern as his peripheral numbers are almost all amongst the worst of his career. Silva has always had a high batting average against with a lifetime mark of .304 , including a .324 mark last season, but this year he's allowing a career high .333. Furthermore Silva, once an extreme ground ball pitcher has seen his ground ball to fly ball ratio decrease every year from what was a 2.75 to what is now just a 1.20. His walk rate is also up and he's allowing a career high .381 OBP. Realistically one would think he couldn't possibly continue to do as well as he is, and likely he wont. But at a time when the Twins are desperate for starting pitchers to keep them in games, he's doing so, and deserves every ounce of credit he receives.


Ray Felix, III said...

The batting average against doesn't concern me, with Carlos that's just the way it will always be (and his BABIP against and WHIP are the lowest they've been as a starter except for '05). His FIP (Fielding Independent ERA) is 4.03 which is also a career low as a starter, mostly due to his ability to keep the ball in the park (3 HR in 181 PA).

That's actually the biggest red flag, his HR/FB is currently at 5.5%, which is good, but probably unsustainable. Given that he's giving up more fly balls this year than ever before (2007 - 41.9 GB%, Career - 48.7 GB%) probably due to his use of the newly developed changeup over his sometimes shaky sinker. If (or when) that HR rate starts to come up, we could see some 2 or 3 run HR.

Silva's been very solid thus far this year, hopefully he continues to put up quality starts when the offense comes around.

Ray Felix, III said...

Also, I'm not sure where you got your stats from, but has Silva's opposing BA at .288 (which is a damn sight better than .333)

Corey Ettinger said...

I used And the numbers they had yesterday didn't include his performance yesterday afternoon. You're right. I didn't factor in his last start and thats a "my bad."

Ray Felix, III said...

No worries, I don't blame you, I blame Silva for going out and lowering his BAA that much!

It's sad that 6H in 6IP lowered his BAA that drastically, which proves your point in the article in the most roundabout way possible.

No strikeouts though, do you think his new approach (and his new changeup) will lead to a higher K rate for the whole year? or will he revert to his ridiculously low rate of the past couple campaigns?

Corey Ettinger said...

I think it'll increase if only because he gives hitters more to think about. Theres nothing like going into the batters box looking for only one pitch or two.

Whats most impressive about his changeup isn't even that he's developed and taken command of it as quick as he has, its that he's learning how and when to use it much better than most pitchers ever do.