June 9, 2019

It’s the bullpen, stupid

Starter Kyle Gibson fell to 6-3 on Saturday after Gardy’s guys, the Detroit Tigers, knocked off the Twins 9-3. Although Gibson was credited with the loss, it was reliever Matt Magill’s performance that once again has me concerned about the Twins bullpen.

What’s there to be concerned about? I hear you ask. After all the Twins are 21-games over .500 and would appear to be well in control of the division. Yes, but there is still a lot of baseball to be played.

Despite the loss, Gibson still struck out eight in five innings and kept the Twins in the game; Magill did not. Once Magill took the mound, he served up four runs on five hits, including a home run, in an inning of work. He also hit a batter, walked a batter and left with an ERA of 6.60.

That’s not going to cut it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Twins soon announce a roster move involving Magill. Reliever Blake Parker also has me questioning his longterm viability.

Paker actually picked up his ninth save in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Tigers. To lock up the save, however, required 28 pitches, two walks and a strikeout to get the job done. Let’s call it the Blake Parker experience.

MLB Trade Rumors has noticed that Parker isn’t the pitcher he was earlier in the year.

While the unheralded (Ryne) Harper and (Mike) Morin have been shockingly effective across a combined 35 innings, Parker has begun to fade after an encouraging start. The ex-Angel boasted a 1.04 ERA entering play May 28, but it’s all the way up to 3.74 through 21 2/3 frames after he allowed at least two earned runs in three of his past four appearances.

The Twins go for the series win Sunday. Jake Odorizzi, now the ace of the team, seeks his ninth win of the season.

Extra innings…

-Baseball folk hero, Willians Astudillo, who has wowed baseball with his ability to put the ball in play while also rarely striking out or drawing a walk, has been sent to Triple-A Rochester, the team announced. In his place, the Twins have called up right-handed reliever, Ryan Eades. I think this move was less about La Tortuga at the plate and more about the Twins wanting to shore up some holes in the bullpen. Eades pitched in Saturday’s game against Detroit. In two innings, he pitched scoreless baseball with two walks and three strikeouts.

-Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected from Friday’s game for the 81st time in his career after he questioned a balk call on Tigers pitcher, Matthew Boyd. Gardy is always quick to defend his players and they defend him.

“I know he sticks up for me; he’s got all our backs in here,” Boyd told the Detroit Free Press. “He’s one of the best. He’s instilled that culture here.”

-The Tigers used an opener and primary pitcher on Saturday and it worked against the Twins. The two pitchers went five innings, allowed only two runs, and struck out seven.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.