Becoming the Ace

Through the first two months of the season, Scott Baker’s performances only led to questions about his newly signed 4-year, $15.25 million contract inked in the off-season. Three months later, the pitcher that earned the deal with a tremendous 2008 season is beginning to reappear.

With his most recent one run, six inning performance in Cleveland, Baker moved to 13-7 on the season with an ERA of 4.34 – a decent mark considering the rough start to the season back in April.
After three starts and the first month of the season, Baker was 0-3 with a 9.82 ERA. The right-handed Baker lasted only 14.2 innings over the course of those three starts and hitters hit a combined .328 against him.
May was better for Baker, but in six starts in the season’s second month, he posted an ERA of 4.97, and his cumulative ERA stood at 6.38. After nine starts, Baker was still searching for an answer, and nearing the end of the line and staring the bullpen in the face, Baker finally changed for the better.
In the three months since Baker neared a move to the bullpen, he has posted a solid 3.42 ERA. The numbers date back to June 1, and span a total of 18 starts. Take out one poor outing against the New York Yankees on July 7 (3 innings, 5 runs), and Baker has posted a 3.11 ERA over the past three months.
Since the All-Star Break, Baker has been even more impressive. He has went 6-0 over the course of ten starts while posting a 2.64 ERA and an opponents batting average of .218 in the second half. Baker has not lost in his last 11 starts, and is 7-0 with a 3.04 ERA in that span.
A poor start to the season raised eyebrows and questions about Baker’s future. The three months since have made Baker’s off-season extension look like a brilliant move. Baker could be with the organization through 2013, and if his recent ways are a preview of the future, the Twins might indeed have an ace in the rotation.

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