Thursday, July 10, 2008

How to Help the Twins Bullpen

Believe it or not I had this whole thing written up about how something had to be done with this bullpen. I was going to break down a few of the mistakes I saw during this embarrassing three game sweep at Fenway. Things like Bass coming in during a 0-0 tie, Nathan not pitching in any of the three games and pitching to Manny when there was an open base at first. But I decided to take a look over at MNGameday to see what the "talented" bloggers were talking about. (Side note: was the title at MNGameday always just "Gameday" or did it used to have the abbreviation for Minnesota up there. I think I might be going crazy.)

Right there at the top was Jesse from Twinkie Town. And right there, the first paragraph, perfectly described my feelings.

It's easy to over-react after a series like the one we just went through, where the bullpen is the focal point of blame for A) being unable to keep a quality performance together, like what happened with Baker and Blackburn, and B) being unable to stop the opposition from racking up 12 runs in three innings. Our bullpen failed, three games in a row, and it wasn't pretty. It was destructive, and it was disconcerting.
Damn right it's easy to over-react! Trade the whole bullpen for some maple bats.

So what the hell can we do?

1. Stand pat, and hope some of these guys can pull themselves together.
2. The non-waiver trade deadline is coming up. There are bound to be some external options available.
3. There are pitchers in Rochester who have earned a shot, an internal promotion could bolster the troops.

Alright, number one sounds good. Bring in Pat. It's just a partially torn ligament. Man up Neshek, the team needs you.

Number two, get some outside help. I like it. I got three words for you: La. Troy. Hawkins.

Number three: Probably the most likely.
Lastly, if the Twins feel like their best option going forward for the bullpen is in the minor leagues, there are a couple of arms in Rochester worthy of a call. 27-year old southpaw Ricky Barrett is having another strong season. Opponents are hitting a meager .186 off of him in 49 innings, along with 58 strikeouts an a 1.16 WHIP. If you're tired of waiting for Minnesota to promote him, 25-year old southpaw Mariano Gomez might strike your fancy. He doesn't have the strikeouts but has been very effective, with a minuscule 2.02 ERA in 44.2 innings, to go along with a 1.30 WHIP. Finally there's Bobby Korecky and his tight breaking ball, if you'd rather bring up a right-hander. In triple-A this season he's struck out 37 in 42.2 innings for a 3.16 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. Those should probably be the first three guys in line, but even guys like Casey Daigle and Carmen Cali have been effective in relief. Tim Lahey's peripherals are better than his ERA suggests as well.
Jesse has some good suggestions but I have one that even he didn't come up with. Phil Humber. Okay, I know, I know. He is 4-7 with a 6.00 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in AAA Rochester, Ouch. But he does have 50 strikeouts in 72 innings, that could be worse, I guess.

But here is really the brilliance behind this idea: He is 6'4" and 210 lbs. He throws right handed. Who does that sound like? I'll give you a hint. He is 6'5" and 205 lbs and also throws righty.

Yep. That's right Joe Nathan. So here is what I am thinking. If we bring in Phil in the eighth and give him a number close to Nathan's 36, I don't know, like 38. (what!? that's already his number? Perfect!) The opposing batters might not notice and will be intimidated by the idea that Gardy finally put Nathan in before the ninth. It's brilliant.


haasertime said...

sounds good. I think they are starting to work on it - This is on Lavelles blog today:

"Philip Humber recently was moved to Class AAA Rochester’s bullpen.."

Daymonster said...

Phew, Nathan just had some fun there in the 9th. He almost made everyone look bad, for saying he could pitch well in these late tied situations. Or would it have proven that we should use him more, so he doesn't sit out for 3 games then come in and throw 7 balls out of 10 ten pitches.

haasertime said...

pretty good work by the bullpen today. good win. and good call using nathan, even though he almost fucked it up.

RM said...

See, now I don't think any of those AAA options will come up here an be any more effective than Brian Bass (perhaps Korecky, but even he only marginally so). We're stuck with the guys we have - either they pull it together or we suck.

TwinsWin83 said...

If u arent watching the game right now they just read off Lariano's line over his last 3 starts for Rochester: 20 innings/10 hits/0 ER's/ 3 walks-24 strikeouts.

Is there any question he is about ready? I know its AAA but thats a pretty sick line.

The biggest question is where do you put him in the rotation if you bring him up? One word: Livan.

haasertime said...

from Lavelle's blog:

Even if the Twins decided tomorrow that they want Liriano up, who leaves the rotation? I know what you’re thinking: Livan.

There are no signs the Twins are giving up on Hernandez (9-6, 5.44 ERA) , who was hit hard again in Boston on Wednesday. It’s not what you want to hear but that’s the way it is. There are pitchers in baseball who would commit crimes to have nine wins before the All-Star break like Hernandez does. And his problem has mostly been on the road: He’s 7-1 at home.

Hernandez said after Wednesday’s game that he’s usually a second half pitcher..I don’t know what to think about Livan’s second half this year. But I do see the Twins giving him several more starts. He’d have to go on a Sidney Ponson-Ramon Ortiz run of negativity before I would expect a change.

Daymonster said...

6 man rotation? We don't need bass in there.