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Bring Out The Brooms and Sweep Nick Blackburn Away

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09:  Nick Blackburn #53 of the Minnesota Twins wipes his face while playing against the New York Yankees in Game Two of the ALDS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Andy RAnalyst IJune 24, 2010

After getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers, the Twins have definitely hit the lowest point of their season. The pitching was awful, and the offense matched that effort.

Again, Nick Blackburn couldn't get out of the third inning, and the offense couldn't muster a single run.

The Twins rewarded Blackburn with a four-year, $14 million contract that includes an $8 million option for 2014 in March of 2010.

That sounds okay, but after two seasons and going 11-11 with an ERA above four, was it really deserved? After all, Blackburn would likely be the fourth starter at best.

What has Blackburn done to prove his worth? Well, he has a respectable 6-5 record with an ERA jumping above 6.00.

Do we need to go into why wins are a stupid statistic to judge pitchers?

In his last five starts, Blackburn has gone more than 3.2 innings just once. In those starts, he has given up runs of five, five, two, eight, and five, respectively.

Those three five-run games were against the mighty Athletics, Mariners, and Brewers.

Wait, did I miss something? Last time I checked (literally 10 seconds ago), none of the above teams had a winning record. Heck, none of them are within six games of a winning record.

After a great May, Blackburn has done what no other pitcher in the majors has been able to do—give up 25 runs in five consecutive games while pitching less than 19 innings.

How long will we have to suffer watching Jessie Crainwreck and Nick Blackburn pitch when there are young arms itching to get some time in the Big Show?

Gardenhire finally sent Brendan Harris down to AAA today. Called up to take the place of Harris is outfielder Jason Repko. The AAA stud was hitting .281 with six homers and 28 RBI in 59 games.

Can Gardy follow suit to bring Anthony Slama and Kyle Waldrop to the majors?

Both pitchers have been tearing it up in Rochester with ERAs below 1.50 and WHIPs below 1.05.

The only thing negative I can say about Slama is that he walks a lot of people. In just 42 innings, Slama has walked 20 batters. On the plus side, he also has a K/9 rate of 10.04.

While Waldrop doesn't have the overpower asset that Slama has, he's been very consistent while allowing just three balls to reach the seats in over 50 innings.

What else do these guys need to prove? What have Blackburn and Crain proved that they can pitch in the majors in 2010?

The bullpen has been fantastic, except for Crain. The starting pitching has been respectable, except for Blackburn. The offense has been great, except for whomever is playing third base.

The Twins' farm system is loaded with talent. It's time to start bringing that talent up to see what they can do.

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