Three Steps Back


The optimism the Twins created with their recent three game winning streak has suffered a painful demise. After briefly passing up the Astros for the 29th best record in MLB, the Twins staggered right back to the bottom with three epic fails in the Arizona desert. Unlike the first 27 Twins losses, in which terrible hitting, pitching, and fielding all contributed to the team’s futility, the sweep against the Diamondbacks can be blamed on a single culprit: the bullpen.

Words cannot describe how completely worthless Twins relievers were in this series – at least, not words that I’m willing to use on a website where children might be reading. So I will have to resort to obscene  numbers instead, ones so ridiculous they’d give Archimedes an anneurysm.

Here are the final totals for the Twins bullpen in the last three games:

W-L Record: 0-3

Innings Pitched: 7.0

Hits: 15

Earned Runs: 10

ERA: 12.86

WHIP:  2.14

Kevin Slowey, Joe Nathan, Matt Capps, and Alex Burnett all gave up runs in key situations this weekend. So did the previously-untouchable Glen Perkins before he left Saturday’s game with an oblique muscle injury that will keep him out for at least a couple of weeks. To add insult to that injury, the Twins recalled Dusty Hughes to replace Perkins. The good news is Hughes pitched a scoreless inning Sunday to lower his ERA to 9.26, still a pitiful total, but more than three runs per game lower than the ‘pen’s performance this weekend. The bad news is that the only left-handed options left in the Twins’ pen are now Hughes and Phil Dumatrait.

Twins hitters have made some strides toward competence in the last week, and aside from some high pitch counts this weekend, the starting rotation has been posting some quality starts. But if the Twins fail to address their bullpen situation immediately, the 2011 season is lost. Using Dumatrait, Burnett, Hughes, and Anthony Swarzak on a regular basis is tantamount to conceding defeat.