As the starting pitching rotation continues to find its groove for the Minnesota Twins, some relievers have stepped up to help keep the game under control.
Casey Fien, Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins have all settled into their respective roles as relievers and have pitched fairly well against opposing teams.
In 21 game appearances, Fien has a 3-1 record and a 1.80 ERA. His one loss came against the Cleveland Indians on May 7 when he gave up an RBI single to Mike Aviles that scored the game-winning run in the ninth inning. Through 20 innings of relief, Fien has given up four earned runs on 12 hits and has an overall average of .176. Fien is also one of the few remaining pitchers who hasn’t given up a home run during his outing of work. Fien hasn’t pitched more than an inning in each game he’s appeared in, but if the time came for him to pitch longer, I don’t think he will have any problem. As long as he keeps the batting count under control and his ERA as low as it is, then he should be a solid reliever for the rest of the season.
Of the relievers that are consistently used, Duensing has the best ERA out of anyone as he currently sits at 1.47. In 18.1 innings of work in 18 game appearances, Duensing has given up three earned runs on 16 hits, two of which were home runs. All three runs were scored by the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 30 and May 1, both games which the Twins lost and the latter marking Duensing’s first recorded loss on the season. Similar to Fien, Duensing has pitched one inning or less in each appearance, with the only exception being the May 1 Dodgers game in which he pitched 2.2 innings. But, if the situation were to arise that asks for Duensing to pitch longer than an inning, then he shouldn’t have a problem. In five total innings of work in the last eight games that he has pitched in, Duensing has not given up any runs. So, if he can stay as consistent as he has been, then Duensing should be a solid reliever as well in the next four months of regular season play.
Even though his record is 1-0, Perkins has been the man to finish out the game. With a 3.22 ERA over 22.1 innings Perkins has given up eight earned runs on 19 hits. Regardless of these numbers, Perkins is the only reliever to have any saved games, and he has 14 behind his name out of 16 opportunities. On top of that, Perkins has one of the lowest averages among relievers, and is currently sitting at .218. He also has one of the lowest WHIP percentages at 0.99. With only one home run against him, Perkins is still in great shape to remain as the best closer. As long as Perkins works on keeping the runners away from scoring, then he could become one the most reliable closers of the game, if he isn’t already.
As a game progresses into later innings, it is always best to have those pitchers who can keep the opposing team from gaining any momentum and score. With Duensing, Fien and Perkins working in their own groove, the Twins should have no worries regarding any runners scoring while they’re on the mound.