|Jose Berrios leaves the game Monday after just two outs.|
He was charged with seven runs in one of the shortest starts
in Twins history.
Last August the Twins bypassed Jose Berrios to fill a rotation hole. Instead of finding a way to put the prospect on the 40-man roster and bring in to the majors, they brought up Tyler Duffey and, for one start, returned Trevor May to the rotation. In September they again opted not to push Berrios up to the bigs. And all offseason and into this year, there have been voices insisting that Berrios could have gotten the Twins into the playoffs.
Monday, I think, we saw why the Twins decided against using him in the majors last year. Berrios is undeniably talented, and undeniably still raw. On Monday in Detroit he threw 39 pitches to get just two outs. He walked four, allowed a homer and a long double and threw just 18 strikes. It's not as if the home plate umpire, Doug Eddings, was calling a tight strike zone, either -- none of the other five pitchers the two teams used walked a man.
Berrios' rotation spot comes up again Saturday against Toronto, and the Blue Jays have a lineup that is rather similar to Detroit's: right-handed, experienced and powerful. There is a genuine sense that not only is Berrios not ready to be the rotation savior but that the Twins dare not expose him to the Jays.
If not Berrios, who? Kyle Gibson isn't coming off the disabled list this month. Pat Dean did a fine job of eating innings Monday, but he's left-handed and, well, on Monday he allowed 10 hits to the 24 men he faced. I don't think he's any better a match against the Blue Jays than Berrios is,
But more important that the matchup against Toronto this weekend is Berrios' development. The 22-year-old had to have his confidence dented Monday night. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the Twins cannot afford to have his confidence smashed. In the next few days the Twins need to take Berrios' emotional temperature and determine if he's better off back in the minors with the need for improved command of his stuff freshly emphasized.