Monday, August 17, 2015

May back in the bullpen

Trevor May is 4-0,
2.51 in 14.1 innings
as a reliever.
On Saturday I took issue with the decision to start Trevor May. On Sunday Paul Molitor said May was returning to the bullpen.

I will repeat what I said before: In the abstract, I prefer May starting. But the Twins have gone too far down this path-- at least in terms of their postseason ambitions -- to return May to the rotation.

That opinion will stand as long as the Twins are in the wildcard hunt. Right now they're 1.5 games out of the second wildcard. They are also about to begin a potentially killer stretch of their schedule: 19 of 25 games on the road, most of them against other contenders. The Yankees. The Orioles. The Rays. The Astros. The Royals. It's a gauntlet that may very well prove their postseason ambitions to be illusionary. Or, alternatively, that can propel them into the October tournament.

It is, again, the balancing act between contention and development. The best thing for Trevor May's future as a starter is for him to be in the rotation. But he's clearly the best eighth-inning option in the bullpen right now. Even as I regard him as clearly one of their best starters, I recognize that they have better rotation alternatives than they do bullpen alternatives.

Tommy Milone did well Sunday in his return from the disabled list. Tyler Duffey was good enough Saturday to merit another start. (Five walks is a bit disconcerting, however.) Those two fill out the rotation behind Kyle Gibson, Ervin Santana and Mike Pelfrey as the Twins start this ordeal. And May, at least once he's recovered from Friday's start, pushes Kevin Jepsen, Casey Fien and Brian Duensing down the pecking order.

If they fall out of the race in the next three weeks or so, it might be a good idea to work May back into the rotation once more. But winning now is, and should be, the immediate concern.

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