Minnesota Twins: Three Silver Linings in Recent Weeks

Nelson Cruz of the Minnesota Twins bats and hits a home run. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Nelson Cruz of the Minnesota Twins bats and hits a home run. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins pitcher Alex Colome delivers a pitch during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports /

Minnesota Twins: Recovering from Bullpen Blues

I last discussed the Twins’ bullpen over a month ago, and things weren’t going very well then. Over the past month of baseball, not much has changed. To make matters worse, it hasn’t just been the bullpen, either.

As a whole, Twins pitching has recorded a 4.84 ERA entering Wednesday, which ranked 14th of 15 teams in the American League while also landing 13th in strikeouts, and 14th in home runs allowed. That’s absolutely brutal, but it doesn’t mean there still aren’t some positives to discuss, starting with Alex Colomé.

Alex Colomé was a big-name signing by Minnesota this offseason, and was expected to provide more stability at the back end of the ‘pen. However, he struggled heavily to begin the year, with an 8.31 ERA through his first 9 appearances. But since the month of May began, Colomé has looked significantly better.

Since May 1, Colomé has thrown 7 & 2/3 innings without allowing a run. After opponents hit .316 off him through April, they’ve recorded just 2 hits in 24 at-bats (.083 avg) since the start of May through Wednesday’s loss. His underlying numbers are still terribly rough (13.3% barrel rate, 93.7 mph of average exit velocity, says Baseball Savant), but it’s hard to argue with results.

It’s extremely encouraging to see for someone who is expected to be an important part of the team, and the Twins certainly will need Colomé to continue the success he’s had this month. That’s one pitcher though. What about the rest of the bullpen?

To answer, I would point you to some encouraging results from the last two games for the Twins. In a 5-4 win over the White Sox on Thursday, Twins relievers threw 5 scoreless innings to secure the victory, combining for 9 strikeouts while allowing only 1 hit. They followed that performance with 3 scoreless innings in Wednesday’s loss, piggybacking off a good start from Matt Shoemaker.

6 innings and 2 runs was a strong outing for Shoemaker, despite being charged with the loss. For a guy who entered the game with a 6.62 ERA, throwing 6 solid innings is a huge step in the right direction.

So the pitching has been better in the past few games. Of course, that’s only two games. But, after a disastrous 16-4 loss to the White Sox on Monday (a game that sparked some controversy, courtesy of Tony La Russa), it’s a very encouraging response for the Twins.

Minnesota Twins: On the Right Track?

Who knows, maybe the blowout loss can be the kick-in-the-butt that the Twins need. The pitching has looked strong in the two games since, which is a great answer. The 16-4 pummeling could serve as rock bottom for this Twins team, propelling their season upwards. Maybe they put together a run soon, and get their season back on track.

But, yes, the Minnesota Twins have looked really, really bad this year. They’ve disappointed in almost every possible aspect of the game, and are currently one of the worst teams in baseball. But, like in life, there’s always a few positives to take away. Hang in there, Twins fans. It’s a long year.

Next. Minnesota Twins: Ranking the Twins’ 3 Biggest Issues. dark