I don't mean to harp on the bullpen. We knew going into the season it was going to be the weakest link on this team. And statistically the bullpen isn't horrible, it's just that compared to an excellent offense and outstanding starting pitching and dazzling defense, an average bullpen looks somehow below average. But chin up, mates, the front office has about seven weeks to work with, more and more teams will become sellers as the trade deadline nears, we have a sizable lead in the division, lots of games against weak divisional foes to come, and the team is relatively healthy. So, laissez les bons temps rouler.
Today the Twins send Jake Odorizzi to the mound. Simply put, he's been awesome with sugar frosting on top. His 1.96 ERA leads the American League and gives him a 228 ERA+ on the season. He's struck out 70 batters while allowing just 21 walks (3.33 K/BB), and he's given up just four home runs in more than 61 innings pitched. With a 0.964 WHIP, he's extremely stingy giving up the bases. He's one of the primary reasons that after 63 games this season, the Twins have yet to lose more than two games in a row. I think it's fair to say The Jake has more than returned on his trade investment of infielder Jermaine Palacios (.266/.322/.386/.708 MiLB career). The Tigers counter the sweet odor of success with southpaw Ryan Carpenter (1-2, 6.23 ERA). He's 28 years old, has thrown a total of 48.1 big league innings, and this year he's given up almost two and half homers for every nine innings he's pitched. So no, he's not as good as Odorizzi, but as of right now, only a very small handful of big league pitchers are. A Twins victory today means another series win and a winning ten-game road trip. Play ball!