Monday, July 15, 2019

Back at it

Time to end the blog vacation. Some comments about the past week:

* The Twins, needing a spot on the 25-man roster to restore Jake Odorizzi from the injured list, designated Adalberto Mejia for assignment.

This not only took Mejia off the active roster but off the 40-man roster as well. The Twins are down to 38, so they now have room for two newcomers in (a) prospect(s)-for-veteran(s) trade(s).

Before I took my break, I suggested that Mejia was on thin ice. That wasn't any great insight. Mejia has, in the three years since the Twins got him from the Giants in a July trade, pitched his way out of the rotation plans and now out of the bullpen, with 12 walks in 15.1 innings this year.

It's certainly possible that he'll clear waivers and remain in the Minnesota organization. I don't hold out much hope that the Twins will get anything out of him or for him.

* The Twins got what they needed, if not what they wanted, out of the Cleveland series coming out of the break, taking two of three from the Tribe and adding a game to their divisional lead.

A sweep would have been nice, and I suspect Trevor May has been kicking himself for the lousy curve he threw Carlos Santana for the go-ahead homer Sunday, but two-of-three in a series of close contests is acecptable -- and a dent in Cleveland's lingering divisional aspirations.

* Of note in that series: The Minnesota bullpen, widely considered weaker than the rotation, pitched better. The Twins deployed their top three starters in Cleveland (Kyle Gibson, Odorizzi and Jose Berrios), and none of them got into the sixth inning. The Twins bullpen combined for two runs allowed in more than 12 innings over the three games.

* To that end, manager Rocco Baldelli continued his aggressive use of Taylor Rogers. The lefty bullpen ace threw two innings on Friday for the save, then worked another inning Saturday to protect a four-run lead (no save there).

I doubt Rogers was available Sunday. He certainly did his part earlier in the weekend. Friday's two-inning save was his seventh outing of six or more outs this season. Joe Nathan had 14 such outings in his entire Twins career.

Baldelli, in this limited regard, reminds me a bit of Leo Durocher, Hall of Fame manager, who said something like: "Don't save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it might rain." When Baldelli sees a chance to win today's game, he'll go for it, and deal with any bullpen shortages the next day.

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