Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bullpen issues, broken record

Paul Molitor did something Tuesday night we know Ron Gardenhire wouldn't have done: He brought in his closer in the eighth inning of a tied game.

It didn't work. Mike Moustakas singled home the winning run.

Really, the issue wasn't bringing in Perkins for (Molitor hoped) four outs. The real issue was the inability of the bullpen in front of Perkins to keep things under control.

First came Blaine Boyer, who entered in the sixth with a man on first and two outs. He immediately gave up a double that plated the runner. For the second day in a row, Boyer has a linescore that says he gave up no runs but ignores his role in the runs charged to the previous pitcher. But those inherited runners count, and that one made it a one-run game.

Aaron Thompson followed, but he couldn't get through the seventh without being relieved by Casey Fien. Fien in turn couldn't get though the eighth.

Boyer, Thompson, Fien and Perkins -- they are the bullpen core, the guys Molitor relies on. They combined for 2.1 innings, two runs allowed and an inherited run allowed.

For all the chatter about how Molitor and new pitching coach Neil Allen want to get multi-inning outings from their relief pitchers, the fact remains: They aren't good enough to get that many outs.

One other item of note, and this isn't completely on the bullpen: The Twins pitchers racked up one strikeout Tuesday. One. That came from starter Tommy Milone. You won't win many games in the 21st Century with one strikeout.

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