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Top 5 Worst Pitchers Under Manager Ron Gardenhire

by Dan Gunderson

The Minnesota Twins have had better pitching this year than in years prior, which is like saying spoiled milk is not as bad as moldy cheese. Both are terrible.

The Twins pitching staff ranks dead last in strikeouts, something it seems they have prided themselves on since 2011. They also have the fourth worst pitching staff ERA in the majors.

Whats that old man in the corner? What are they in the Indiana Jones stat? What is You mean WHIP? Some made up Fantasy Baseball stat that everybody now reveres as a holier than thou bench mark for pitching success?

Fifth worst in baseball.

They are also giving up nearly 10 hits a game. All in all, it is a pretty awful pitching staff, led by the likes of Kevin Correia and Rick Nolasco. This got me to thinking. Who are the top 5 worst starting pitchers under Ron Gardenhire?

To make this list you have to do a couple things.

1) You had to have pitched for the Twins between 2002 and 2014. Those are the years Gardy has been managing the ball club.

2) You had to have made at least 15 starts for the club. This means that even after 10 bad ones, Gardy still gave you at least five more shots to correct yourself.

Pretty easy rules to follow. Let us see what we have.

5. Joe Mays 2002-2003, 2005

In this time span, Joe Mays made 64 starts, going 18-26 with a 5.81 ERA. This was in the middle of the Twins making all those playoff appearances. Do you remember that? Foggy, I know.

Opponents hit .306 against him, with a .308 average with balls in play, meaning he really wasnt giving his defense much of a chance to help him out. He also had a 77 ERA+ in those years. Oh, and his strikeouts per nine innings? 3.5.

What makes all of this even worse is his salary. Mays, who was an All-Star in 2001, made 13,750,000 in those three years. An average of way too much per year.

4. Livan Hernandez 2008

Yeah. He did. No need to go look it up. Im being truthful with you when I say he did pitch for the Twins in 2008, making 23 starts. His ERA was 5.48 and he gave up a whopping 18 homers in those 23 starts.

Opponents hit .341 against him, he gave up 38 doubles and 199 hits. All of this while pitching 139.2 innings. All-in-all, it was a bad year for Hernandez.

The reason he is only at four is because his 2008 season was one of the worst of his career and he only played half the season for the Twins. If he wouldve continued on as a Twin, he may have gone higher.

3. Nick Blackburn 2007-2012

Here is a funny stat for you: Blackburn never had a season with a winning record. He went 11-11 twice and that was as good as it got for him. His first two full seasons, 2008-09, werent bad. He had a 4.04 ERA in those two years but the hits. Man, all of those hits.

The Twins have always been a pitch to contact type of team and Blackburn did not disappoint. He gave up 464 hits in those two seasons. With that came an opponent batting average of .291. And those were the good years.

He spent another three with the Twins, starting 71 games and having an ERA of 5.56. His ERA+ was 73. Why he is at number three is the fact the Twins saw him give up 464 hits in two seasons and just assumed that was an aberration. He made $3 million in 2011, $4.75 million in 2012 and $5.5 million in 2013. Hes out of the league now.

2. Kevin Correia 2013-2014

Make sure and grab the barf bag for this guy and the following one. Correia has been bad at his job, especially as of late. He leads the league in losses with 13 in 2014. No, he is not injured like Mike Pelfrey or Ricky Nolasco. He is healthy, unfortunately.

His numbers in one year plus look like this: 14-26 with a 4.49 ERA and 159 strikeouts in 308.2 innings pitched. That strikeout number is really horrendous. The Twins, who are awful at striking batters out, have put a cool $10 million into a guy who doesnt strike people out. Makes sense.

Correia was signed with the hope that he would add veteran presence and eat innings. While both could be said to be true, he hasnt done much past that. He would be number one on this list if it wasnt for this guy.

1. Mike Pelfrey 2013-2014

Now, let us remember. Pelfrey was coming off of Tommy John surgery in 2012. That is the only excuse Ill make for this 67 train wreck. In 34 starts, Pelfrey has a 5.56 ERA, has won a grand total of five games and a strikeout to walk ratio of 1.56. By comparison, Phil Hughes is second in the majors in that category at 9.07.

He has a win probability of -3.4. This means the Twins actually are more likely to lose if he is on the mound. Opponents are hitting .301 against him with a .332 batting average for balls in play.

He has been hurt most of 2014, which, I suppose, you can look at as a blessing. The reason that Pelfrey is the worst pitcher Gardy has ever had to manage is the Twins actually had a chance to let him walk after last season. He was granted free agency after signing a $4 million dollar deal in 2012.

The Twins released him in October of 2013 and resigned him in December of 2013 FOR MORE MONEY! Thats right. Pelfrey is making $5.5 million this season. Way to go Twins. You couldve spent that extra $1.5 million on someone like Ricky Nolasco.

What a minute