When the Minnesota Twins sent down Vance Worley last week to Triple-A because of his ineffectiveness on the mound, a wakeup call should have been heard by the majority of the Twins’ starting rotation. It isn’t every day that a team’s Opening Day starter is sent to the minors before the beginning of June due to lack of production, but the Twins’ starting rotation isn’t your everyday rotation.
The Twins started retooling their rotation last week and now have P.J. Walters and Samuel Deduno comprising two of the rotation spots, with the holdovers of Scott Diamond, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia filling out the rest of the rotation. While Correia and Diamond should be locks to remain in the rotation for the majority of the season, it is a wonder how Pelfrey has remained in the rotation so long after performing so bad.
Pelfrey, for the season, has a 3-5 record with a 6.85 ERA, a 1.76 WHIP and a .333 opponent’s batting average against. For comparison, if you look at Worley’s stats before he was sent down, they have a lot of things in common. Worley sported a 1-5 record, 7.21 ERA, a 1.99 WHIP and a .381 opponent’s batting average against. There was little doubting that Worley needed to be sent down to work on his pitches and regain his form and his stats reflected his poor performances; so why hasn’t Pelfrey met the same fate?
Over his 10 starts this season, Pelfrey has given up four runs or more in six out of his 10 starts and has only completed six innings in an outing twice. Pelfrey’s last respectable start came four starts ago in Baltimore when he went six innings and gave up three runs on nine hits. Since that outing and over his last three starts, Pelfrey has gone 11.2 innings and surrendered 17 hits, 12 runs, 3 HR and six walks. With a bullpen that is tiring and a ballclub that is struggling, this is no longer acceptable; quite frankly, it never should be acceptable.
I understand that the Twins have more invested in the future of Worley and that is why they wouldn’t hesitate to send him down to the minors to get him straightened out, but why should Pelfrey be exempt for underachieving?
Pelfrey has the excuse of coming off an arm injury, but that excuse has lost its merit and needs to be forgotten. The bottom line is this: if Pelfrey is struggling, due to an injury or not, he needs to be demoted or released. The Twins have plenty of better and younger options that could step in and use the development and give a better performance than what Pelfrey is giving them. Some candidates include Kyle Gibson, Cole De Vries or Liam Hendriks, when Hendriks gets healthy again. The Twins certainly could be saving Pelfrey’s demotion for when Gibson is ready, or what the team perceives as ready, and if that is the case, things are starting to make a little sense.
At any rate, it is time to see consistency throughout the Twins’ organization and Pelfrey needs to be held accountable for his performances. Even though the team is struggling, the season is still young and it wouldn’t be fair to give up on the season and continue to throw out a sub-par pitcher when better options remain available. The Twins have shown signs of life over their past few games and in order to build on that, they will need the rest of their rotation to pitch well. In order to have that happen, Pelfrey must be moved elsewhere.