Let the night surround you
We're halfway to the stars
Ebb and flow, let it go
Feel the warmth beside you
Ok, you’re the manager…
It’s the 5th inning and your team has a three run lead. Your starter has been great so far but his pitch count is reaching the 85-90 mark. The other team starts out the inning with their lead off hitter reaching first. The starter’s velocity on his fastball has decreased 4mph since the first inning and is tired.
The game is lost because….
You don’t have a good bullpen
Your staff ace has pitched a shutout through 7 innings in a 1-0 game and is at the 95 pitch mark heading into the 8th. Your starter goes back in the 8th and then gets stuck in a bad inning and ends up pitching 15 more balls and becomes injured. His and your season could reasonably be over.
All because you don’t have a bullpen…like the Red Sox
Beyond the 5 starting pitchers, the nine positional players, the extra catcher, the three bench players there are 6-7 guys that are as overlooked as any players around. I’m talking about the bullpen because there are few that are as dominant as the Twins’ bullpen.
Seriously they give Gardenhire the luxury of resting a starter with a 2 run lead into the 8th, they have the skills to retire that left handed power hitter with men on base, and they never get any credit.
Lets look at the some of the Twins bullpen one-by-one
For the record, I can't write baseball like those other big-time bloggers so bare with me.
Pat Neshek, right handed reliever- Neshek is filthy. So far he’s been as automatic as a pitcher can become. It’s to the point where I get that Mariano Riviera safety-like feeling when he comes to the mound. He’s also a fellow blogger so that’s pretty cool
Denny Reyes, LOOGY (lefty, one-out, guy) In the past the Twins have just put any warm body that can pitch left handed in this position. One year they had Jesse Orosco (who was seriously about 45) and then there was the flailing JC Romero days last year. Ugh, If only I pitched left handed I could be a mlb player.
Anyway Reyes hasn’t shown to be that throw away left hander, he’s actually been very good. .98 ERA in 36.2 innings is better than me.
Juan Rincon, 8th inning set up man- Probably the best set-up man in the majors. Basically there is little need for a starter to pitch past the 7th inning unless they are really on a roll or Rincon is tired. He could easily be the most underrated player in all of mlb.
Joe Nathan, Closer- It’s hard to find a closer. I mean it’s really hard to find someone so automatic that they can blow away whomever comes up to bat in the 9th. Twins have had an unbelievable stretch of dominant closers in Reardon, Aguilera, Guardado, and now Nathan. Basically a Nathan-AJ straight up trade would be a steal in itself.
Hell if it were possible to clean away all the pitch count, rest, save the bullpen stuff I would like to see the bullpen pitch a whole game. Think of it, Game 7 and Gardenhire somehow smells a terrible outing by Radke or something and just sticks the bullpen in for an entire game.