Friday, September 20, 2019

Magic number: Six

The Twins won Thursday night, but the victory is shadowed considerably by Kyle Gibson's continued struggles. As matters stand -- and time to straight him out is short -- it is difficult at best to imagine him on the postseason roster.

With Michael Pineda suspended, with Gibson ineffective, with Martin Perez spluttering, the Minnesota rotation is Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi and the void.

For much of 2019, the rotation was reliable. For much of 2019, it was better than the bullpen. That has reversed now. The bullpen -- with the addition of Sergio Romo and the emergence of Tyler Duffey and Zach Littell -- is better than the rotation right now.

Berrios and Odorizzi will be conventional starters in the playoffs, of course, although Odorizzi is not an innings eater. The other games will likely be bullpen-heavy, with Perez, Lewis Thorpe, Delvin Smeltzer and perhaps Randy Dobnak going once or at most twice though the batting order.

Craig Counsell, the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, is given to describing his pitchers' roles as "out-getters." I have more faith right now that the unproven guys -- Smeltzer, Dobnak, Thorpe -- can get outs than in the veterans Gibson and Perez.

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