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Mets 6, Twins 0: Scott Baker Hammered In Middle Innings, Twins Drop Series In New York

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If the Twins aren't careful, they'll play themselves right out of any "trade for Cliff Lee" scenarios.

While watching the game this afternoon, the Twins broadcast put up numbers outlining how Scott Baker's ERA ballooned as he moved past the first three innings of the game.  It made me ask exactly how he'd done as he passed through the order:

Time Thru Order PA AVG OBP SLG
1st PA 138 .235 .268 .438
2nd PA 134 .293 .343 .537
3rd PA 106 .287 .311 .436

That's fairly telling, and pretty standard as far as my memory goes.  Baker is effective for the most part the first time through the order, gets pounded in the middle innings, and then the numbers rebound a bit the third time through the order when he's either doing a solid job anyway or has recovered from a combination of sloppy pitching and good hitting.

Today, the latter is exactly what happened.  A couple of big strikeouts saved Baker in the first, but by the fourth inning everything he threw was getting hit hard.  Foul balls were loud, and everything that was fair was hit in the air.  In the fifth, after he got Jose Reyes to pop up to start the inning, the Mets tagged him for a double, back-to-back home runs and a triple to chase him from the game.  The triple was picked up off of a good pitch, but it doesn't change the fact that the Mets owned Baker.

David Wright struck out against Baker in that fateful fifth inning, but his checked swing wasn't ruled a swing by first base umpire Sam Holbrook.  Instead of a runner on second with two outs, the New York All-Star was given another chance.  Wright went yard on the very next pitch, on a breaking ball right in the wheelhouse, and at the time it put the Mets up 4-0.  It was a bad call by Holbrook, but in the end Baker still needed to do his job and at least throw a good pitch.  He wasn't able to do that.

Four pitches later, Ike Davis went deep and Baker slammed his fists into the mound.  Whether he was distracted by the missed strikeout call, or was simply frustrated with his inability to hit his spots, it's impossible to say.  All I know is that somewhere along the line, he just lost it.

For the fourth time in five June starts Baker's final line is disappointing.  It wouldn't be so bad if both Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn weren't each pitching poorly right now, and it also kills that the White Sox are riding their longest winning streak in two generations.

Let's get the hell out of New York.

Notes and awards after the jump.

  • The Twins were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.  They stranded nine.
  • Don't look now, but Nick Punto is hitting .260.
  • Jason Repko went 1-for-4 today, picking up his first hit with the Twins on an infield single to Reyes at short.
  • Sounds like the Twins had scouts watching Dan Haren.

Game MVP:  David Wright
MVP in a losing effort:  Danny Valencia (1-for-3, BB, didn't strand a runner)
Best Pitching Performance:  Elmer Dessens
Where I'd rather be:  Minneapolis, thanks