Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

The alarming statistics of the Twins starting rotation

Recently speaking, the Twins rotation is concerning.
Jose Berrios

Even if the season ended today, Aug. 22, the Twins would be in the playoffs. But cracks in Minnesota's armor have been hard to ignore. 

Despite the additions of Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson to provide more depth in the bullpen, the decision not to add another arm to the starting rotation is glaring. 

Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson and Martin Perez have all been pummeled by opposing teams, with Michael Pineda being the lone bright spot.

Berrios

The "staff ace" of the Twins had a nice start to the season but once again, he's starting to break down as the season wears on. Since debuting in 2016, Berrios owns a career ERA of 5.92 in the month of August, which is by far his highest of any month in his career.

  • April/March: 3.69 ERA 
  • May: 4.03 ERA 
  • June: 2.85 ERA 
  • July: 3.83 ERA 
  • August: 5.92 ERA 
  • September/October: 4.77 ERA

In three starts this month, Berrios has allowed 19 runs (15 earned) with opponents teeing off to a slash line of .314/.385/.586. 

He's still 25 years old and the Twins have won 15 of his 25 starts, but they need him to pitch like an ace because there's a good chance he'll still start Game 1 of a playoff series and his recent performances aren't going to cut it in the postseason.

Odorizzi

Remember when Odorizzi was flirting with the ERA title in June? Boy, those were the days. Following his start June 9 he had a 1.92 ERA, but in 12 starts since he's posted an ugly 5.98 ERA. 

Yes, it was unrealistic for him to put up a sub-two ERA in a full season, but it's also concerning that even with his stretch of brilliance he's continued to tax the bullpen by failing to go deep into games. 

He's only completed six innings in eight of 25 starts, while logging seven innings in just two starts. Now going deep into games is becoming harder to do in today's era of baseball but Odorizzi always seems to run into pitch count issues that prevent from going a longer distance.

Odorizzi has a career ERA of 3.90 in eight big league seasons and that's what the Twins need him to be at this point. He'll also be a free agent this winter, so the Twins have to decide whether he's worth keeping around or not.

Gibson

After a career season in 2018 where he set career bests in ERA (3.62) and K/9 (8.1), Gibson is looking more like the inconsistent pitcher he's mostly been in his career.

His 4.40 ERA is near his career line (4.46) and as the season has carried on, his strikeout rate is falling. Here's how many batters he's struck out per nine innings in each month this season.

  • April/March: 7.8 K/9 in five starts 
  • May: 10.9 K/9 in five starts
  • June: 8.3 K/9 in five starts 
  • July: 9.4 K/9 in six starts 
  • August: 6.0 K/9 in four starts

In four starts this month, Gibson has allowed 15 earned runs in 22.2 innings (5.96 ERA). With the way he's pitching lately, it seems the only way he'd start a playoff game is out of necessity, with someone likely piggybacking behind him.

Just like Odorizzi, Gibson is also a free agent at season's end.

Perez

After not realizing his potential as a top pitching prospect with the Texas Rangers, it looked like the Twins had struck gold with the addition of Perez to the rotation.

He added a cutter to his arsenal, and Perez looked like he finally had it all figured it all out. However, things turned sideways in a hurry.

Through his first 11 games (eight starts), Perez had a 2.95 ERA with opponents hitting .236 and slugging just .356 against him. Since then, he's made 14 starts to an ERA of 5.88 while giving up 13 home runs.

For the season, his 4.60 ERA is nearly identical to his career line of 4.63. It's likely he'll be used out of the bullpen in postseason play, if he's used at all. 

Pineda

The only consistent arm in the rotation is Pineda. After missing all of 2018 while rehabbing Tommy John surgery, Pineda is 9-5 with an ERA of 4.26 on the season and has gotten stronger as year has gone on.

In his last 11 starts, Pineda owns a 3.18 ERA with the Twins winning eight of those appearances. 

However, even though he's pitched better of late, I'd assume most Twins fans (and opponents for that matter) don't view him as a stopper in a rotation. There also might be an innings limit on him since he hasn't pitched more than 170 innings since 2016.

How the Twins compare

Since July 1, The Twins starting rotation has a combined ERA of 4.62, which is still fifth best in the American League but the teams above them have looked far batter and are all potential postseason opponents for the Twins. Here's how those staffs have performed since July 1. 

  1. Indians: 3.19 ERA, 9.39 K/9, 2.48 BB/9
  2. Astros: 3.56 ERA, 10.35 K/9, 2.55 BB/9
  3. Athletics: 3.90 ERA, 6.67 K/9, 2.16 BB/9 
  4. Rays: 4.21 ERA, 11.0 K/9 ,2.03 BB/9
  5. Twins: 4.62 ERA, 7.88 K/9 3.46 BB/9
  6. AL League average: 4.91 ERA, 8.51 K/9, 2.84 BB/9

It's clear what Minnesota's weakness is: pitching, both starters and relievers. Maybe their offense can bail them out once or twice, but strong pitching consistently wins championships, and right now the Twins' pitching is just slightly above average and it will likely be the culprit that stops them from making a deep playoff run. 

Next Up

D'Angelo Russell

D'Lo's late takeover helps Timberwolves win double-OT thriller

Russell caught fire to help the Timberwolves get back to .500.

Gopher Football

Gophers suffocate Badgers, reclaim Paul Bunyan's Axe

Minnesota picked up its first home win over the Badgers since 2003.

Meeker County Sheriff's Office

Boy, 6, run over after falling off trailer in Meeker Co. tree farm accident

He was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center with internal injuries.

Target store

Target unveils deals for 2-day 'Cyber Monday' event

The promotion kicks off Sunday, November 28.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.59.30 AM

Edina police warn of recent burglary trend targeting garages and vehicles

The Edina Police Department is increasing patrols in affected neighborhoods in response to the trend.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.03.06 AM

Charges: Man shot Uber Eats driver making a delivery in Cottage Grove

Otis Donnell Shipp was charged with second-degree attempted murder after turning himself in on Wednesday.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 7.36.14 AM

Waterfront hotel in Duluth sustains damage in kitchen fire

Authorities estimate the damage at around $75,000.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 7.15.18 AM

Large groups of thieves target 2 Twin Cities Best Buys on Black Friday

It bears similarities to the flash-mob style thefts seen recently in California.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' winning streak snapped at five games

The Wolves' bid for their longest winning streak since 2014 came up short.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Teen arrested over fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy in Brooklyn Park

Police say the teen was filming a social media video while handling a gun.

Joe Biden

President Biden coming to Minnesota to promote Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Tuesday's trip follows passage of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Related

What the Twins' starting rotation could look like

Jose Berrios is the No. 1 starter, but who follows and in what order?

Jose Berrios

How the Twins' starting staff compares to the best in the AL

Berrios, Odorizzi and Perez own three of the top-10 ERAs in the AL.

Madison Bumgarner

What will the Twins rotation look like in 2020?

Gerrit Cole is the pipe dream, but will the Twins pay that kind of price?

40649176273_f0e1c22be5_k

The deceiving statistics of the Twins' bullpen

The numbers don't paint the full picture.

Twins offer Odorizzi deal, let Gibson, Pineda become free agents

Minnesota could still sign Gibson and Pineda as free agents.

Doubleheader throws a wrench in the Twins' starting rotation

The Twins will be playing musical chairs with their starting rotation.

Doubleheader throws a wrench in the Twins' starting rotation

The Twins will be playing musical chairs with their starting rotation.

Jake Odorizzi

How can the Twins upgrade their starting rotation?

With less than a month until spring training, the Twins could use another starting pitcher.