Monday, June 19, 2017

Not in first place anymore

The Twins held a two-game lead in the AL Central when I started writing the Monday print column. They were two games behind the Cleveland Indians by the time it actually ran.

In retrospect, I should have been more explicit about something implied in that column: the current Twins are actually thinner in trustworthy pitching than the 1987 champs to whom I compared them, because the current Twins trustworthy pitchers won't pitch as much as their 1987 counterparts.

Bert Blyleven and Frank Viola combined for more than 500 innings in 1987; that is more than a third of the team total. Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios won't come close to 500 innings this year, and they have combined to pitch less than a fourth of the innings so far.

The three relievers on the '87 champs Tom Kelly relied on all season -- Jeff Reardon, Juan Berenguer and Keith Atherton -- combined to pitch more than 271 innings. The three relievers Paul Molitor trusts at this point -- Brandon Kintzler, Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers -- won't to get to that level either, although Berenguer's month or so in the rotation makes that less than a perfect comparison.

Molitor has the same number of reliable pitchers as Kelly did. But he uses them less often, which means he has to get more innings out of the unreliable pitchers. That's not conducive to contention,

That showed in the weekend debacle against the Cleveland Indians. True, neither Santana nor Berrios got  a start in that series. The Tribe's ace, Corey Kluber, also didn't pitch. Both teams had to dip into their minor leagues for a starter in Saturday's doubleheader. Cleveland's fill-ins were better. (Suprise,)

1 comment:

  1. Help Wanted: MLB club has immediate need for pitching help. Good hours. Must be clean of PED's. Ability to throw baseballs into strike zone and miss bats helpful. Medical and retirement plan.