Minnesota Twins: 5 bold predictions for the second half of the 2019 season
By Chris Schad
The Twins starting rotation will take a step back
While the pop at the plate has been the biggest surprise for the Twins this season, so has the success of their starting rotation. While Jose Berrios has been in All-Star form all season long, Jake Odorizzi also earned his first All-Star appearance while Michael Pineda, Martin Perez and Kyle Gibson have all been serviceable.
But while a lot of the focus has been on the bullpen in recent weeks, the starting rotation has begun to take a step back as well. With the starting five not going as deeply into games, the bullpen has been exposed and the Twins haven’t played as well as they did in April. This makes the starting rotation more of a factor as we go down the stretch.
This could all just be a bit of pessimism creeping in, but Perez hasn’t been the pitcher he was at the beginning of the year and although Pineda has pitched well since returning from knee tendinitis, he hasn’t pitched a full season since 2016, which makes one wonder if he’ll break down in the second half. Then, there’s Gibson, who could be Good Kyle and Bad Kyle in the same start.
If pitching coach Wes Johnson can continue getting the most out of his staff, then the step back won’t be a big one. If he can’t, the starting rotation could become a major issue as the Twins close out the AL Central.