About now, I should be extolling the virtues of having Philip Humber, Bobby Keppel and Jesse Crain in the bullpen, a group whose collective contributions this month prior to last night’s game was a .314 average against along with 14 extra base hits. Humber was unhittable last night, but not the good kind. Keppel continued to be hit hard but miraculously escaped several jams thanks to sloppy baserunning. Crain was downright brilliant, retiring six straight O’s before Nolan Reimold nine-ironed a slider for a double in the 8th.
What’s more interesting to me right now is the body count of Twins pitchers that is amassing. Since the start of the season Boof Bonser, Pat Neshek, Scott Baker, Glen Perkins, Jesse Crain, Kevin Slowey and Francisco Liriano have made visits to the disabled list. With the exception of Slowey’s wrist, all of the others are associated with the arms. "Twins starter" is swiftly becoming an occupation as dangerous to your health as any profession. Because of these injuries, the Twins have had to use Brian Duensing, R.A. Dickey, Anthony Swarzak, Kevin Mulvey, Philip Humber, Jeff Manship and now Armando Gabino to temp.
"I threw 77 pitches in six innings in one of my recent starts, and I was like, 'This is it?' " [David] Bromberg said as Mintz informed him to take a seat in favor of a reliever. "He wants us to be healthy. He wants us to become playoff pitchers.”
“We carried him all the way to his pitch count – 113, three over the max of 110. It was just an outstanding performance. The whole team knows what he did. He picked up the bullpen, the whole staff.”The 110-pitch threshold should not surprise anyone as the organization does not like to have starters go beyond that number even at the major league level. In 124 starts in 2009, the Twins have made just 47 starts (37 pct) in which they have gone over 100-pitches, the second-fewest in the AL. The franchise seems to cultivate their arms to handle this limit and nothing more. Stretching pitching prospects to a 115-mark seems reasonable as they ascend through the system. This way, when they do reach Minnesota they'll be more than prepared to handle Rick Anderson's prescribed 100-pitches and would be ready to go further if a bullpen is in need of a rest.