Minnesota Twins pitching report following a 1-5 Week 3

Apr 12, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) sits in dugout during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) sits in dugout during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Twins as a team would like to forget week 3 of the regular season, but there are continued bright spots amongst the pitching staff.

As the Minnesota Twins faced off against the Indians and Tigers, the hope was to get back on track and declare their dominance on the AL Central. That didn’t quite happen as the team went 1-5.

While 1-5 is not at all what you want to see a team turn in at the end of the week, the pitching staff has performed much better than was expected coming into the season.

Unfortunately, the number in the loss column caught up with the number in the win column. So while, all in all, week 3 was a negative week for the Twins, let’s see if the the pitching staff has much for positive mojo.

Kyle Gibson

Gibson has began to be a lightning rod for criticism after this past week’s performance. In a two start week, he allowed 10 runs (9 earned) to cross the plate in 8.0 innings pitched. His start against the Tigers in which he made it 2.2 innings was especially discouraging for Twins’ fans. Those numbers bring Gibson to 0-3 overall with an ERA of 9.00.

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Gibson continues to be hard to figure out. While he projects as an extreme ground ball pitcher, Gibson continues to give up homers at an alarming rate. In four outings he has already given up five homers. That translates as 2.6 home-runs per 9 innings.

Phil Hughes

While Hughes has been surprisingly effective this season, this week’s start against the Indians did not go well. He went 3.1 innings allowing 6 runs (4 earned). This brings Hughes to 3-1 with a 4.71 ERA overall over 4 outings this season.

What goes a long way to helping Hughes’ success is that he isn’t hurting himself by walking guys. In his 4 starts he has issued four walks. While his fastball velocity will continue to be a concern sitting at a 89.5 mph average (a low for his career), mixing in his change-up more has produced success in his other starts. Fans will have to hope for that to continue as the season does.

Ervin Santana 

Santana continued his great start to the season in his outing against the Indians in week 3. He was able to pitch 6.0 innings allowing one earned run while striking out 5 batters. Santana continues to be a positive topic of conversation for fans and a major topic in trade speculation. Through four outings, this outing puts Santana at 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA.

Coming into the season, Santana was the only pitcher that there was any faith in on the Twins’ staff from a national perspective. He is proving himself in some head turning ways. We could have easily been saying he was a 4 win pitcher after week 3 if the bullpen would have been able to hold on to the lead against the Indians.

Hector Santiago

Santiago continues to be another bright spot in the Twins’ rotation. While his outing against the Tigers may not have been a lock down performance, it was enough to keep the Twins in the ball game and lead the team to its only win of the week. Santiago went 6.1 innings and allowed 3 runs, all of which were earned, while striking out 6. Hector now stands at 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA on the season.

Santiago has been a second, stabilizing piece to the Twins’ rotation to this point in the season. Exactly the way that it seemed the Twins envisioned Ricky Nolasco fitting into the rotation when they signed him. It potentially took trading Nolasco’s contract to get that result.

Adalberto Mejia

The actions by the front office this past week may tell us enough about Mejia’s start against the Tigers. If you missed it, Mejia was demoted as the Twins enter a stretch where they can move forward with a 4-man rotation.

So what happened? Mejia went 2.2 innings giving up 3 runs, all earned. The bright spot may be  that in that short start, Mejia was still able  to strike out 6 batters. It was the long ball that did him in as he surrendered homers to Nicholas Castellanos and Justin Upton.

The Pen 

Ryan Pressly may easily have the best stuff in the bullpen, but has put out some bad outings at the same time. This week he made 3 appearances. One outing was clean with 0.2 innings and 1 strikeout. While the other two outings saw 5 runs cross the plate total over 1.1 innings. The Twins need more consistency out of Pressly and a proven ability to get the team out of jams.

Brandon Kintzler continues to turn in good outings. Kintzler has yet to allow a run to score and in his 2.0 innings this past week, he surrendered just one hit to blemish an otherwise perfect scorecard. Kintzler also now has 5 saves on the young season.

Even with a clunker against Cleveland, Tyler Duffey has continued to put out strong relief appearances. Matt Belisle continues to be a successful setup guy turning in two innings allowing no runs, one hit, and one walk this past week. The biggest news of the week is that Rule-5 pick, Justin Haley, went on the 10-day DL at the end of the week with biceps tendinitis.

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As the season continues, fans and the team will keep their eye on some of the good starts to the season from guys like Santana, Santiago, and Kintzler. There will be continued questions around exactly who his Hughes at this point in his career. The biggest question may be around who will step into the fifth spot in the rotation. Is it Mejia’s to have after some work at AAA or is it time for another look at Jose Berrios? Hopefully Week 4 will give us more answers.