Why did the San Francisco Giants win the World Series last year? Why are the Tampa Bay Rays making a run at the AL East Wild Card spot?
And good pitching is something the Twins lack. To be honest, the Twins have been lacking good, reliable, consistent starting pitching since Johan Santana was traded.
Of course, there are Twins with potential to be aces, but for one reason or another, none of them have fulfilled their promise.
Scott Baker probably has the best chance of becoming an ace pitcher, but frankly, he's been on the verge of becoming an ace for six years now. Six...years. He has a hard time staying healthy, and when he is healthy, he has flashes of inconsistency.
Francisco Liriano has the stuff to be an ace, but he doesn't have the head for it. He lacks the confidence he used to have, and he doesn't always make smart pitching decisions. He also seems to have a hard time staying healthy.
Carl Pavano isn't really ace material. He's been a tad more consistent than the others, but he's not performing like he did at the end of 2009 and all of 2010. Or maybe he is, but the sub-par defense behind him is making it harder on him.
Brian Duensing is better suited for the bullpen. Kevin Slowey may be better suited for the bullpen as well, but he doesn't want to go there. Nick Blackburn is only good in May and Game 163.
And on it goes.
The Twins have been getting away with good-enough pitching for the last few years. Ever since the Johan trade, the start of every season has started with the media predicting second or third in the division because "they just don't have the pitching." But, with all those gloom-and-doom predictions, the Twins found ways to squeeze good seasons out of their rotation. Unfortunately, the karma of getting by with a crew of three-, four-, and five-starters has caught up with the them.
Solving the problem, of course, is going to be a lot more difficult than me sitting here wishing for a solution. There isn't exactly a pitcher Genie lamp that Bill Smith rub and out pops an ace. There are a few good free agent pitchers available, but of course the really good ones will be expensive.
I'm in no position to speculate on which free agent or trade candidate the Twins should target. I'm pretty certain that neither Mark Beurhle nor CC Sabathia (if he opts out of his contract) will be getting any calls from the 612 area code. However, Smith and company must -- must -- resist the urge to pull one off the scrap heap (just say no to Livan!).
But if there were a pitcher Genie lamp, I'd wish for C. J. Wilson.
Since I mentioned Carl Pavano, here's his paper doll:
He hasn't missed a start, and as far as I recall, he hasn't come out of a game because he got hurt. Although, we all worried about him hurting himself during some of the dugout rages he engaged in this season.