It’s no secret that the Minnesota Twins are dealing with certain weaknesses in their roster like every other team must do at this point in the season.
It’s also no secret that pitching has been Minnesota’s main weakness, and has taken another blow through the struggles of starter Mike Pelfrey.
In his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday, Pelfrey gave up five runs in just four innings of work. In five overall games in which he started, Pelfrey has given up 23 runs, just two shy of Ricky Nolasco and Kevin Correia. Pelfrey has also given up five home runs, which is the most of any Twins starting pitcher other than Nolasco (who sits at six). Pelfrey and Correia are now the only two starting pitchers who are 0-3 in their first five starts, and Pelfrey takes the crown as having the worst ERA of the five-man rotation.
In 23.2 innings of work, Pelfrey now sits at a 7.99 ERA.
I should also note that Pelfrey hasn’t won a game at home since April 16, 2013.
And it probably doesn’t help that Pelfrey is haunted by last year’s struggles. In 29 games, Pelfrey ended the season with the worst record of his Major League career at 5-13 with a 5.19 ERA. In 152.2 innings, Pelfrey had given up 184 hits and 88 earned runs, including 13 home runs.
Not only is he being haunted by an unpleasant season, Pelfrey’s fastball has lost velocity. Last year, Pelfrey was averaging a 92.4 mph fastball. This year, it has dropped to an average of 91 mph.
And to top it all off, Pelfrey was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a left groin injury.
Prior to his injury, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire planned to meet with Pelfrey and pitching coach Rick Anderson to discuss the possibility of moving the struggling pitcher to the bullpen.
And as frustrating as it had been, Pelfrey had stated that he would accept whatever the coaching staff decided about his immediate future.
“Obviously, taking the ball every five days isn’t working,” Pelfrey said. “I’ll do whatever they ask.”
So, while Pelfrey rides out his injury on the disabled list, relief pitcher Samuel Deduno will slide in from long relief to the starting rotation. In 18.2 innings this season, Deduno has a 2.89 ERA with 18 strikeouts and nine walks. In 108 innings of work last year, Deduno finished with a 3.83 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 41 walks.
All in all, I think this is ultimately the best move the Twins can take right now. Pelfrey has been struggling left and right for the past two seasons, and doesn’t look to be improving any time soon. With the rest that he’ll be getting, all anyone can do is hope that it will turn out for the best when he returns.
In Deduno’s case, this could be a great opportunity for him to prove himself as a reliable player. If he can continue working on his game and posting the numbers he has been providing, then maybe there will be a slow turnaround in Twins pitching improvement.
Related articles: Pelfrey to DL; Deduno to enter Twins’ rotation