The Twins received their worse defeat of the season last night, falling to the Blue Jays 12-2. The ten run difference was the widest margin of defeat since September 19, 2008 when the Twins loss to the Tampa Bay Rays 11-1. This loss came at the expense of Scott Baker's return being overshadowed with poor command and lack of velocity, in other words, not the Scott Baker we've come used to over the last couple of seasons.
Baker's velocity (or lack there of) was an issue early on in the game but fortunately it picked up some steam and by the end of his appearance, he was throwing around 92 mph, about five miles per hour faster than he was when the game started. Unfortunately his command did not make the same turn around, he continuously left the ball up in the zone to most of their hitters and as a result was clobbered for four home runs.
This was Baker's first start of the season after landing on the disabled list in Spring Training with a 'stiff shoulder.' He made one rehab start in Fort Myers, throwing seven innings and giving up only one run on five hits. Although in both games Baker was pounding the strike zone, in last nights game, he induced only four ground balls opposed to the 11 he induced while on his rehab start last week. As a result of Baker coming off of the D.L., Brian Duensing got sent down to Triple-A Rochester where he'll likely be most of the year, barring another call-up.
Baker's next scheduled start is next Tuesday against the high-powered Red Sox offense. Hopefully his next start is better than this one, unfortunately it won't come any easier as he's scheduled to face the Tampa Bay Rays after the Red Sox. He'll definitely have his work cut out for him in the next couple of weeks.
Even if Baker did pitch great, he wouldn't have gotten much help from the offense which only mustered up two runs on four hits. The two runs came in the first inning, which Baker quickly gave back with a two-run home run in the top of the second inning. It was just all down hill from there.
The offense was non-existent after the first inning and the pitching was pretty horrendous even after Baker exited the game. Rookie Philip Humber gave up two runs in just under two innings before R.A. Dickey came in and allowed an inherited runner to score before he could get out of the sixth inning. Dickey threw two and a third innings giving up just one earned run before handing the ball to Luis Ayala who continued his rough start to the season giving up one run in his only inning of work.
All around, it was a game the Twins would like to forget. Unfortunately they face the surging Blue Jays one more time tonight, but on the bright side, after tonight, the Twins will have a five month brake from the Blue Jays.