On July 23, Baker made a start against the Detroit Tigers. At that point, the Twins were in desperate need for a quality start. The Twins had just lost two straight games against Detroit, and had a huge series with the New York Yankees on the horizon.
Baker pitched his game that night, giving the Twins a 5-2 win in the second game of a double dip. He threw seven inning, allowing two earned runs on five hits, while striking out five. However, he was optioned back to Rochester before he could blink an eye.
The demotion did not jar Baker's confidence though, as he settled back into his role as the Red Wings ace. On Thursday, he blanked the Durham Bulls, allowing only two hits in 6.1 innings. He also struck out five, and lowered his International League ERA to 2.82.
On the season, Baker is only 3-6, but he his ERA has him second in the International League. At the big league level, Baker is 1-1 in his three games. He has started two, and has struck out ten batters in his 14 innings of work.
Baker did not pick up the decision on Thursday, as Dennis Ulacia matched him pitch for pitch. Manager Rich Miller took Baker out of the game, not because he was tired, but because his wife LeAnn was going into labor.
So Baker left the stadium, and headed to his wife. With a child on the way, Baker may look back at this past week and say it was the best week of his life. A new born baby, his first Major League win, and perhaps a spot in the Twins rotation next season.
With the trade deadline coming up on July 31, Baker gives the Twins options that they didn't have before. He will more than likely be asked for if they do make a deal, or the Twins can deal one of their incumbent starts because they know he is waiting in the wings. Either way, you will see Scott Baker pitching every fifth day for somebody, and hopefully it is in Minnesota.