Vance Worley Latest in Line of Minnesota Twins’ “Sinker-ballers” to Struggle

By Brian Wille
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Couple the M&M Boys’ of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau with an alright start by Vance Worley and the Minnesota Twins thought they had a good enough recipe for success on Monday night. However, their efforts were not enough and the Twins dropped an extra-inning decision to the Boston Red Sox 6-5. Worley had struggled over his first few starts with the Twins, but felt back at home on the east coast and delivered one of his better starts of the season. Worley tends to have better success against teams the first time he faces them and although he gave up a lot of hits, he did pitch better against the Red Sox then he had in his most recent starts. Overall, Worley did a much better job of locating his pitches and mixing in his off-speed stuff with his cut-fastball and sinker, but there is still a lot of work yet to be done.

Worley went five innings allowing nine hits, three runs, three earned and striking out three to earn a no decision, but he did show glimpses of promise throughout the game.

It is obvious that when Worley has his sinker working, he can be a very effective pitcher because he can generate a lot of ground ball outs. The problem is, Worley hasn’t seemed to have his sinker working consistently enough this season to succeed. The Twins have employed plenty of sinker ball pitchers in recent years such as Nick Blackburn and Carlos Silva and their longevity has never seemed to extend past a few years in the American League or with the Twins. The reason the pitchers did not stick may be more related to the pitchers themselves instead of the pitching style, but Worley’s start to his Twins’ career hasn’t instilled much confidence by the Twins’ faithful. It will be interesting to see how Worley adapts to pitching in the American League and whether or not he will able to adapt his pitching style to be effective for a long period of time.

Worley certainly has things to work on and he is showing signs of progress despite his occasional struggles during Monday’s game. I know it sounds like I am beating a dead horse with this comment but until Worley can locate and develop complementary pitches to help out his sinker and cut-fastball, he will not be able to succeed in the American League. Worley certainly has all the potential to develop into a solid rotation starter that the Twins can use within their rotation for years, but he needs to fulfill some of this potential sooner or later in order for him to keep his job.

Despite the high expectations that were placed upon Worley when he was traded for Ben Revere, Worley simply may not have “top-of-the-rotation” type of stuff in him. If the Twins can get consistency out of Worley and if fans can temper their expectations, then the Twins might have a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter that they can fill out their rotation with for years to come. If neither can occur and expectations remain unrealistic, then all the Twins and their fans are setting themselves up for is disappointment.


Brian Wille is a Minnesota Twins writer for Follow him on Twitter @BeeWill15 or “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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