Twins lose again, 7-4; Nick Blackburn's ERA soars to 6.40
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Blackburn lasted just four-plus innings, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits and a walk. All seven of those hits went for extra bases, including four home runs. This was the second time in his career Blackburn has allowed four home runs in a game.
Needless to say, for a sinker-baller, allowing four home runs is... not good. Actually, allowing four home runs as a major league pitcher, period, is not advised.
Blackburn has now allowed 19 home runs on the season, which ties him for third-most in baseball. His 6.00 ERA heading into Saturday was already the worst mark of any qualified starting pitcher. After the seven-run shellacking, Blackburn's ERA now sits at 6.40.
Taking away his five fantastic starts in May, Blackburn -- who also has the lowest strikeout rate of any starter in baseball (3.19 strikeouts per nine innings), and the highest WHIP (1.66) -- has allowed at least four earned runs in 10 of his 12 starts in April, June and July.
Not only is Blackburn pitching as poorly as he ever has, he's not even giving the Twins a chance to win in many of these ballgames.
Brian Duensing pitched the fifth inning in relief of Blackburn, allowing two walks and a hit without allowing a run. With his 1.62 ERA out of the bullpen, Duensing would be the most likely candidate to replace Blackburn in the starting rotation, if the Twins decide to go in that direction.