As the Minnesota Twins split the four-game series against the Seattle Mariners these past 4 days, we saw an impressive Twins bullpen. Yeah, you read that right, an impressive Minnesota Twins bullpen.
The Twins bullpen only allowed 2 earned runs in the whole four-game series. Those 2 earned runs, however, were the difference from a 2-2 record and a 3-1 record, as Tyler Duffey gave up those 2 runs in the 9th inning on Saturday as the Twins lost 4-3. It was heartbreaking.
It was a surprise to see Duffey get the first save opportunity of the season for the Minnesota Twins, but it just did not turn out how we all wanted it to. Then, on Monday night, Jhoan Duran was called upon to close the game out in the 9th inning (non-save opportunity) in his second appearance of the season in the 4-0 victory over the Mariners.
Jhoan Duran getting the call in the 9th inning was not surprising after seeing his first career outing on Opening Day. He looked great. In his first outing, Duran recorded 4 strikeouts in 2 innings pitched (5th and 6th) and proved to have swing and miss stuff and excellent velocity (in fact, Duran threw the fastest pitch in Minnesota Twins history on Monday at 102 mph).
Not to mention, he has the command that a typical closing pitcher needs, as he threw 22 strikes out of 31 pitches. On Monday, in the 4-0 Twins victory, Duran threw a fairly efficient 11 pitches, 7 of which were for strikes, backing up his excellent first appearances.
I was very impressed with what I saw from, the rookie, Jhoan Duran in this series. In my opinion, I think the role of closing pitcher belongs to Duran. Even though he is young (24), he has proved to be most deserving of it and I think he will thrive as the season progresses.
If this Minnesota Twins bullpen can continue this efficient pitching throughout the whole season, we will be in for a fun and competitive season.