The rookie right-hander will try put a strong finish to his first big league season when the Twins continue a three-game series with the visiting Detroit Tigers.
Baker was called up from the minors on three separate occasions this year, with the last coming on Aug. 29. The 24-year-old right-hander is 2-3 with a solid 3.78 ERA in his first nine major league outings, including nine starts.
Baker, a second-round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2003, posted a 3.01 ERA in 22 starts at Triple-A Rochester this season. He is using his September starts as an opportunity to audition for manager Ron Gardenhire, hoping to fill one of the five rotation spots next year.
Since joining the big league club for good late last month, Baker is 1-2 in six starts, but has helped Minnesota to a victory in three of those outings. After an impressive 10-4 win at Oakland on Sept. 21, Baker was reached for five runs and six hits over five innings in Monday’s 5-0 loss to Kansas City.
“If you’re consistently high, eventually you are going to get burned,” Baker said. “That’s what happened.”
Baker posted his first career win at Detroit on July 23, allowing two runs and five hits over a season high-tying seven innings of a 5-2 victory.
“He came up and did a heck of a job for us,” Gardenhire said. “That’s what we wanted to see … he’ll be here.”
Brandon Inge homered for the Tigers, who lost their third in a row as the season winds to a close, which certainly isn’t helping manager Alan Trammell’s chances at returning for another season.
The former star shortstop for the Tigers has one year remaining on his contract and said he could hear as early as Monday from ownership on whether he will be asked back for another season.