Monday, July 3, 2017

Rotation roundabout

A road trip that began with such promise -- a sweep in Cleveland and a return to first place -- collapsed in Boston and Kansas City. The Twins end the first half 41-40 and three games out, and it feels worse.

I've been obsessing here with the bullpen depth, but the biggest immediate problem right now might be the starting pitching:

On Sunday Hector Santiago was pulled after 58 pitches, just 10 outs and almost no velocity; he grumbled postgame about the quick hook, but it's difficult to criticize Paul Molitor for pulling him. Phil Hughes then entered (his second bullpen outing), and he got five outs while allowing six hits, which is a horrid batting average allowed.

Santiago's ERA is 5.63, and that may overstate his effectiveness. Hughes' ERA is even worse (5.72) and the hope that he can at least give the bullpen a boost has yet to be supported. We have not seen from him the usual velocity surge that accompanies moves to the bullpen.

Felix Jorge allowed three runs in five innings in his spot start in Saturday's doubleheader, and that mediocre line is being lauded. I'll be the Debby Downer on this: He's not an answer to the rotation woes. But then, I don't know who is.

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