Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Twins took the field this afternoon against the White Sox to even the series after having an off-day on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the result of the game today was not what the Twins were looking for whatsoever. Actually, it was a result similar to what we saw on the field in 2013. While starting pitching was our achilles’ heel last year, the bullpen was the culprit of our disappointing loss today. This is a small sample size, one game to be exact, but the bullpen was to blame today since the offense scored enough runs, six, to win the game.
In the 9th, Glen Perkins came on to shut down the game and had a rough outing. He surrendered two runs and allowed the game to get to extras, giving the offense a chance to win the game back. After two innings of not doing a whole lot offensively, Samuel Deduno took the mound in the bottom of the 11th, and well, Sam Deduno happened.
Deduno, who was one of our better starters last year before being injured, was effectively wild in many of his starts and kept hitters on their toes. Then again, he kept his teammates on their toes as well since no one knew where the ball would end up. Now, in his new role as a reliever, he seemed to be the one who was stuck in the uncomfortable situation. After a leadoff bunt single by Leury Garcia, the wheels fell off the wagon. Hard.
Balk. Strikeout. Wild Pitch. Strikeout. Intentional Walk. Walk-off Wild Pitch.
Yes, you read that correctly. A walk-off wild pitch to end the game. While his two strikeouts were helpful to get him closer to possibly finishing the inning, the wildness of Deduno is the sole reason he must be a starter and nothing more. Given how crucial one inning can be in a baseball game, the extreme command issues Deduno showed this afternoon and has shown in recent season, is why his relief appearances needs to be limited to exactly one this year. In a game the Twins very easily could have won, the game ended in an almost comical fashion. Reading how the inning transpired feels like Benny Hill theme music needs to be playing in the background.
While it may seem quick to jump on Deduno and the bullpen for losing this game, Terry Ryan had his doubts about Deduno being a relief pitcher in the first place.
Except instead of walks, it was a balk and wild pitches this time. While Terry Ryan and myself have our doubts about Deduno, maybe this is just one hiccup along what may become a very long season. They knew going into this season they would have to take the good with the bad Deduno can provide as a pitcher. For him, this may have been the epitome of the bad he can bring as a relief pitcher. In the mean time, Deduno will have a chance to redeem himself in a few game, but until that day comes, Twins’ fans may be left shaking their heads since it only took two games for us to see literally anything may happen.
Anything could happen.