|Twins LOOGY Tyler Robertson stands on the mound|
as Baltimore's Chris Davis runs his grand slam home in
the eighth inning Friday.
So it is with Friday's claim that the Twins starting pitching has protected the bullpen. And that Casey Fien has been too effective to consider demoting. And that Tyler Robertson's Thursday strikeout of Prince Fielder demonstrated his value.
That was written after the Twins used six relievers on Thursday when Mike Pelfrey went just 5.1 innings. On Friday, Liam Hendriks went just 4.2 innings, and Ron Gardenhire burned through four relievers to get though that game. Brian Duensing, Ryan Pressly, Fien and Robertson all worked back-to-back games, and the first three are likely to be unavailable today. Seven pitchers are too many; 12 are not enough.
Fien, who struck out four of the first five men he faced this season, was touched for four runs in the eight inning Friday.
And Robertson gave up a grand slam — to a left-handed hitter — on his second-best pitch.
This is deadly for a Left-handed One Out GuY such as Robertson. He is on the roster to wipe left-handed hitters out. But he has now surrendered three home runs in his brief major league career to lefties — Fielder, Adam Dunn and Chris Davis. These are all potent power hitters, to be sure — but they are all noticeably less effective against left-handed pitching (Davis' career platoon differential is less extreme than the others'). Such hitters are the reason LOOGYs dot rosters.
Robertson has to get them out. He certainly can't give up bombs to lefties, no matter how good they are. His job is to dominate small sample sizes.
One bad inning — and the Fien-Robertson eighth inning on Friday was a bad one indeed — turned around the entire short-term outlook. Two consecutive short starts have exposed the lack of a legitimate long man on this staff.
Circumstances can change, I said at the end of Friday's post. Yes they can. And yes they have.