Could Less Starter Innings + A Vastly Improved Bullpen = The Twins WS Formula…

Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Trevor May (65) delivered a pitch in the fourteenth inning. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com

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Remember when every Twins fan around the world was crying in desperation, for bullpen help before the trade deadline? Well, we got our bullpen help (barely), and I’ll tell you what… I’m starting to feel pretty damn confident about the relievers that this team has put together, especially after the last two games of this Chicago series. 

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Michael Pineda had another solid START to his outing on Tuesday but was the latest Twins starter to be pulled before the end of the 6th inning, with or without a bunch of runs already on the board. He threw just 89 pitches but 27 of them were in the 5th, his last inning. Jake Odorizzi had his best outing of late on Wednesday, going 6 innings, giving up just 2 runs on 5 hits, 2 BB, and 8 K. He threw 98 pitches.

The media this morning is trying to tout the Twins’ recent success on the mound as the turning of a corner, but I’m definitely not willing to go near there yet. The bullpen is VASTLY improved and the minimum amount they did at the trade deadline, nabbing Romo and Dyson, seems to be all of the push the team needed.

I don’t know if the starting staff has been THAT improved or if the Twins coaching staff is just asking them to do that much LESS…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about the best way for the Twins to line up their pitching staff for the playoffs, and one theme remains constant in my search. Our starters (outside of a GOOD Jose Berrios) can usually hold down the fort for 5 decent innings and I’d imagine they’d be even better if they knew 5 innings were all the coaching staff wanted out of them..

Is there a successful formula that has the likes of — Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Sergio Romo, Cody Stashak, Tyler Duffey, Jose Alcala, Brusdar Graterol, and anyone else that proves effective out of the bullpen — taking over almost every playoff game by the 5th or 6th inning?

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There could be.

Right now, the Twins are playing a game nearly every day, and when starters don’t take games into the later innings, your bullpen can get taxed quickly. However, in the playoffs, you will only get two games in a row, maximum, before getting a night off AND your rosters are expanded, so you have more options if those options can be successful.

I think this is what the Twins coaching staff is starting to look at, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more short starts from most of the staff, as we move toward the end of September. Can the bullpen continue to be this good, though? 

That’s the World Series question…

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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