Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Bullpen

Wow. We've been through over a week of Twins baseball now and I have to say that the Twins definitely have the best bullpen in the AL. If you've seen Juan Rincon lately, he's on fire. He's throwing 96 mph consistently, with plus movement, and his slider is darting all over. He easily took down the White Sox and Tiger's best hitters. And J.C. has been in on the action as well, showing signs that he may be back to his 2002 form. Through six innings, Rincon has struck out twelve and only allowed three hits. Joe Nathan's velocity isn't at its peak, but it never is at the beginning of the year anyways and yet he looks great too.

Terry Mulholland has provided leadership, his crafty pitching, and his inning-eating ability whenever we've needed it. Jesse Crain hasn't seen much action, but its clear what he's capable of as well. The only real question mark is Matt Guerrier, but with guys like Rincon and Nathan ready to go in the late innings, the Twins look pretty intimidating and great in a short series.

What's even better is remember that Nathan and Rincon were both signed to extensions this offseason, keeping around an explosive combination that kills anything other AL Central teams can produce. Did you see Percival and Urbina? Urbina didn't look too comfortable as a set-up man and although his fastball is moving, Percival is just not the same guy who was so great five years ago for the Angels. No one should be surprised that we scored our first earned run off him this week, although Shannon Stewart is a good fastball hitter who has hit Percival well in the past.

All in all, things look well despite the bad news we've gotten. Carlos Silva is now looking for a April 22nd return as well as Justin Morneau, who says he is feeling much better. If Silva can return that quickly, as well as Morneau, the Twins are looking perfect. Of course, there is still the matter of Corky Miller.....