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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Twins Talk: Blackburn is the worst starter in baseball

The Blackburn riot of 2012 has started! More here.

I take no joy in saying this, but Blackburn is the worst starting pitcher in baseball. He entered Friday with a 7.33 ERA. In 93.1 innings, he’d allowed 132 hits and struck out only 41. The league is batting .334 against him.

Normally a guy who gives up more than seven runs every nine innings isn’t given more than five or six chances to start, but Blackie was making his 19th start Friday, and his struggles are a continuation from last year.

Obviously the Twins keep sending Blackburn out there because they’re paying him a lot of money (they signed him to a multi-year contract following the 2009 season after he’d allowed a league-high 240 hits while striking out only 98 batters in 206 innings).

But it’s time to end this. Blackburn will never be a useful starting pitcher again. If the Twins don’t want to cut him and eat his contract, then stick him in the back of the bullpen and hope he might be a halfway decent mop-up man.

And don’t ever again give a multi-year contract to one of the most hittable pitchers in the game.

Repoz Posted: August 18, 2012 at 07:48 AM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: twins

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Boxkutter Posted: August 18, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4211391)
Do they really call him "Blackie"?
   2. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 18, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4211404)
They do on TV. It's . . . weird.
   3. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: August 18, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4211446)
Blackburn's at -2.1 WAR, 130th-worst among pitchers since 1901, well short of the immortal Steve Blass (-4.1).

In seventh place on the list is Dave Tomlin's disastrous 1978 season with the Reds, where he gave up a buttload of runs: 54, in just 62.1 innings. Only 40 were earned, but that's still a bloated 5.78 ERA (62 ERA+)...for a reliever. (EDIT: also 16 inherited runners scored, for a total of 70, or over 10 runs/9 IP. Yikes.) He finished with a -3.2 WAR, which along with Blass in '73 are the two worst pitcher WARs since WW2.

Oh, and Tomlin's won/loss record that year? See for yourself.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: August 18, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4211454)
Oh, and Tomlin's won/loss record that year? See for yourself.


He just knew how to win, he was the Jack Morris of relief pitchers.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4211513)
Are we not counting Jonathan Sanchez?
   6. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 18, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4211697)
Still less damaging than Vernon Wells.
   7. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 18, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4211700)
Oh, and Tomlin's won/loss record that year? See for yourself.
That kind of makes sense, because someone pitching that terribly is unlikely to be (at least after the first few weeks of the season) in a position to lose many games.

Blackie is dead last in WAR this year, although only slightly ahead of Ervin "What the #### happened to me?" Santana. Because seriously, what the #### happened to Ervin Santana?

In fact, granting that pitchers are always a bit erratic, it's pretty odd that the five worst pitchers by WAR (total "contribution" of -8.9 WAR) were worth a total of +8.5 WAR last season. They've gone from averaging nearly two wins in value to subtracting that much.

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