Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eyeing the future: Brian Duensing

Brian Duensing is now 8-13, 5.12 on the season after
giving up seven runs in two innings on Tuesday.
Tragic number (Tigers wins and Twins losses needed to eliminate Minnesota): 20.


Brian Duensing got lit up again Tuesday.

True, the damage came after he stuck his pitching hand in the way of a comebacker, but he didn't come out of the game for that and said later it only hampered him for a handful of pitches.

Had he pitched well recently, one could give him a hard-luck pass for this clunker. But he hasn't. In 43.2 innings since the All-Star break, Duensing has allowed 68 hits, including 12 homers, and surrendered 36 earned runs.

His platoon splits this season are extreme. Entering Tuesday's game, he had smothered left-handers (.219/.242/.285) and turned right-handers into All-Stars (.321/.376/.546).

There's considerable Internet chatter about returning Duensing to the bullpen, where he'd get to face more left-handed hitters. (Baltimore on Tuesday had one left-handed hitter in the lineup, Nick Markakis, and he went 0-5.) I don't see that happening in what remains of 2011. The Twins have 34 games remaining to play, they have Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn on the disabled list, and somebody has to start.

But the bullpen is a reasonable option for Duensing in 2012. So is finding a new way to attack right-handed hitters. Clearly what he's doing now isn't working.

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