Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Photo

Front Page: Can the Twins Solve Their Starting Pitching Woes With a Little Extra Rest?

jose berrios kyle gibson michael pineda
  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 Patrick Wozniak

Patrick Wozniak

    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Twins Daily Contributor
  • 58 posts
  • LocationAmnatcharoen, Thailand

Posted 30 August 2019 - 06:45 PM

The recent struggles of not only Jose Berrios, but also Kyle Gibson, have been a major cause of concern for Twins fans. Struggling in August in nothing new for Berrios, but this year his numbers have been even worse. His most recent start against the Chicago White Sox was a step in the right direction, but he hasn’t yet returned to first-half form. As has been the case with Berrios, August has not been kind to Gibson. Both pitchers have seen their ERAs skyrocket along with diminished strikeout rates (more so with Gibson) and increased walk rates. The lack of control coupled with a loss of fastball velocity naturally points to both pitchers being fatigued and potentially suffering from dead arm.Take a quick glance at their monthly numbers and just how bad August has been.

Download attachment: BerriosGibsonGraph.png

Without diving too deep into the numbers, we can clearly see that both pitchers have hit a wall. Berrios and Gibson both pitched career high innings in 2018, with Berrios going 192 1/3 innings and Gibson reaching 196 2/3 innings and both have been chugging along in 2019. Berrios is clearly having the better year, but Gibson had at least been someone you could count on to get pretty decent results every five days or so. With the postseason looming on the horizon, the Twins will want to do everything they can to get the rotation right.

While it is normal for pitchers to wear down as the season winds on, both Berrios and Gibson have seen significant decreases in their fastball velocities of late. Berrios’ average four-seam fastball is down to 92.74 mph in August (high of 94.14 mph in April) with his two-seamer down to 91.47 mph (high of 93.4 in June). Gibson is in the same boat as his four-seamer is down to 92.81 mph (high of 94.43 in June) and his two-seamer came in at 92.61 mph (high of 94.11 in June). Since both Gibson and Berrios have good but not elite velocity, losing a tick or two on their fastballs can be quite a detriment to success.

Download attachment: BerriosReleaseSpeed.png

Download attachment: GibsonReleaseSpeed.png

Doubly burdensome is the loss of control that has plagued both Berrios and Gibson. Berrios’ mechanics have been out of whack and he has been working with the Twins staff to try and get back on track. Both pitchers have walk rates pushing 10% in the month of August along with WHIPs that are blush-worthy (1.87 for Berrios and 1.57 for Gibson). Berrios has been unable to get batters to chase, especially his curve ball, which batters are laying off of for the most part and crushing when they make contact.

Download attachment: BerriosSwing.png

Download attachment: BerriosBarrel.png
*Berrios' most recent start against Chicago is not included in the graphs.
It’s possible that Berrios is tipping his curve ball, which is hopefully something the Twins staff can identify and correct, but that still doesn’t solve the lack of velocity and control.

Gibson hasn’t fared much better:

Download attachment: GibsonSwingMiss.png

Download attachment: GibsonwOBA.png

The numbers tell us what we already knew but don’t help us fix the problem. However, there is one Twins pitcher who has been fairly consistent and solid over the course of the season. We need look no further than the case of rotation-mate Michael Pineda to find an obvious, but potentially potent solution.

Unlike with Gibson and Berrios, the Twins have been more careful and deliberate in getting Pineda rest this season. Pineda has twice hit the 10-day IL with somewhat dubious injuries allowing the Twins to limit his innings. Of course, Pineda did not pitch in 2018 because of Tommy John surgery and has an extensive injury history, so the Twins were inclined to limit his innings this year and it has seemed to work well for Pineda. His numbers have improved in the second half as his ERA has gone from 4.56 in the first half to 3.27 in the second and he has maintained his fastball velocity through the year.

Download attachment: Pineda.png

Minnesota is entering a stretch run and undoubtedly wants to run their best starters out each game. However, the Twins may benefit in both the long and short term by skipping both Berrios and Gibson in the rotation. Neither have pitched well of late, so while having Devin Smeltzer, Lewis Thorpe, or even Kohl Stewart pitch in big games down the stretch isn’t all that appealing, they can’t do much worse than what Berrios and Gibson have done in the month of August. More importantly, giving Berrios and Gibson a break may give them a chance to get back some velocity and control and the opportunity to reset mentally as well.

If the division lead continues to grow with rosters expanding in September, Minnesota may even want to consider a six-man rotation. The Twins have been blessed to have five relatively healthy starters for the course of 2019, but they could all probably use a bit of a break at this point in the season. Pineda (5.43 ERA), Odorizzi (4.76 ERA), and Gibson (5.55 ERA) haven’t pitched well on the normal four-days rest anyway, and with Minnesota not having another scheduled off day until Sept. 9 throwing in a sixth starter could help. With the loss of Jose Ramirez, Corey Kluber’s recent setback in his rehab stint, and Brad Hand’s ineffectiveness of late the Twins may be able to extend their division lead over Cleveland, making it all the easier to get the rotation some extra rest. The Twins could also give the pitchers most likely to be in the postseason rotation more abbreviated starts, pulling them from the game before their pitch counts mount.

We all know how great the Twins offense has been and fans can feel pretty good about the bullpen going into the postseason, but getting the rotation right is crucial. The Twins don’t have the formidable playoff rotation of say the Houston Astros (who does?), but getting Berrios going is a must if the Twins hope to go anywhere. Gibson might not be as important, but Minnesota will need all the help they can get. Making sure Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda, and Marin Perez are as rested as possible can only be a plus.

After not picking up an additional starter at the trade deadline, the Twins are forced to roll with the pitchers who got them to where they are. While Minnesota doesn’t have anyone’s idea of an ideal postseason rotation, putting the rotation in the best position to succeed by having the starters well-rested is the best the Twins can do at this point. With additional days off in the postseason the Twins will be better able to utilize the bullpen, but all will be for naught if the starters don’t at least keep the offense in the game. Here’s hoping for the best!

Click here to view the article
  • glunn, birdwatcher and brvama like this

#2 jimbo92107

jimbo92107

    Señor Member

  • Member
  • 4,551 posts
  • LocationSan Diego

Posted 30 August 2019 - 08:50 PM

Gibson today performed at a level equivalent to an average Kohl Stewart outing. So, let a fresh Kohl Stewart take Gibson's next slot, and let Gibson stretch and hot tub for a week. Same with Berrios, but for a different reason. I don't think Berrios is wearing down so much as drifting out of his best mechanics. Still, same prescription: Let Smeltzer take his turn while Berrios works very carefully on his mechanics. 

 

Everybody happy. Everybody wins!

  • glunn, birdwatcher, brvama and 3 others like this
The door opened. A woman screamed. Someday, my mom would learn to knock.

#3 ashbury

ashbury

    Twins fan, no joke!

  • Moderator
  • 24,769 posts
  • LocationNatick, MA

Posted 30 August 2019 - 08:53 PM

Gibson today performed at a level equivalent to an average Kohl Stewart outing. So, let a fresh Kohl Stewart take Gibson's next slot, and let Gibson stretch and hot tub for a week.

Gibson looks emaciated. Gaunt. Maybe skipping a start or two can let him build up some reserves.

  • glunn, jimbo92107, DocBauer and 1 other like this

We laugh at gypsies, fortune tellers, and horoscopes, yet we trust baseball prospect lists.


#4 Rosterman

Rosterman

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 3,426 posts

Posted 30 August 2019 - 09:08 PM

How important is it to keep the starters on a regular schedule of every fifth day. I mean, it all gets screwed up anyways with the playoffs.

 

Would they be better served if the Twins cycled in a sixth starter for 4-5 games in September?

 

Of, because you will be promoting Thorpe, Stewart, Smeltzer...could you do the opener thing...having these youngsters pitch up to two innings and bringing in the "name starter" for four-five innings (and a win).

 

Two things on that...want a comoftrable led in the standings in case the youngsters blow it up and, can the starters function NOT starting a game.

 

I'm trying to figrue out how much money the Twins should throw at Gibson or Dodorizzi for 3 or so years. And wonder if Pineda likes us enough to comeback for a simialr deal to his 2019 contract.

  • brvama likes this
Joel Thingvall
www.joelthingvall.com
rosterman at www.twinscards.com

#5 jimbo92107

jimbo92107

    Señor Member

  • Member
  • 4,551 posts
  • LocationSan Diego

Posted 30 August 2019 - 10:50 PM

 

Gibson looks emaciated. Gaunt. Maybe skipping a start or two can let him build up some reserves.

You're right. Somebody muscle up the courage to tell that man, Eat A Sandwich!

 

Then tell me to stop eating sandwiches....

  • Dantes929, wabene and Aerodeliria like this
The door opened. A woman screamed. Someday, my mom would learn to knock.

#6 jokin

jokin

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 11,950 posts

Posted 30 August 2019 - 10:55 PM

 


 

And wonder if Pineda likes us enough to comeback for a simialr deal to his 2019 contract.

 

The Twins are likely to be outbid on Pineda in terms of years on contract- the Twins won't offer 3+ years for Big Mike, other teams will do so.

 

Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."


#7 Aerodeliria

Aerodeliria

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Member
  • 628 posts

Posted 31 August 2019 - 02:05 AM

With the expanded roster, who knows, maybe Rocco will do a couple of minor league starter games where three young pitchers each go three innings. Something needs to change. Getting raked by Detroit is a very bad sign.

#8 ewen21

ewen21

    Rochester Red Wings

  • Member
  • 1,857 posts

Posted 31 August 2019 - 06:49 AM

Odorizzi has been frustrating. He's actually a good pitcher, but he is up to 100 pitches in the 5th inning most of the time and we can't live with that. It's the kind of thing that kills bullpens

#9 jorgenswest

jorgenswest

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 4,492 posts

Posted 31 August 2019 - 07:32 AM

Odorizzi has been frustrating. He's actually a good pitcher, but he is up to 100 pitches in the 5th inning most of the time and we can't live with that. It's the kind of thing that kills bullpens


I would have written the same thing before this season but now I am not so sure. I wonder if it better to not give in. Give everything you have for as long as you can go. Battle every at bat and don’t give in when the counts gets long. Don’t let the batter ambush you trying to get strike one. Battle and trust the bullpen to get the job done.
  • wabene likes this

#10 Kelly Vance

Kelly Vance

    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 755 posts

Posted 31 August 2019 - 08:10 AM

 

Gibson looks emaciated. Gaunt. Maybe skipping a start or two can let him build up some reserves.

I thought the same thing.He looks thinner than usual. But gaunt is the better word.


#11 ashbury

ashbury

    Twins fan, no joke!

  • Moderator
  • 24,769 posts
  • LocationNatick, MA

Posted 31 August 2019 - 08:20 AM

I thought the same thing.He looks thinner than usual. But gaunt is the better word.

A major league season wears players down, and in particular pares down the weight. When you come into Spring Training on the heels of a serious gastric infection, you stand the chance of not having the needed reserves.

 

I actually think Gibson is showing a lot of character this season, perhaps along the lines of Radke's final season, and probably along the lines of dozens of players every single year.

  • jorgenswest, glunn, Han Joelo and 4 others like this

We laugh at gypsies, fortune tellers, and horoscopes, yet we trust baseball prospect lists.


#12 Han Joelo

Han Joelo

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 1,682 posts

Posted 31 August 2019 - 08:56 AM

 

I would have written the same thing before this season but now I am not so sure. I wonder if it better to not give in. Give everything you have for as long as you can go. Battle every at bat and don’t give in when the counts gets long. Don’t let the batter ambush you trying to get strike one. Battle and trust the bullpen to get the job done.

Yeah--I just read an article on the Ringer talking about the new homer era, and what you say is kind of talked about--in this homer happy era, getting a double play or even just trusting your defense to make an out is less of a thing, because so many balls fly out now.

 

They should radically change the rules, and award a team a run or something if their pitcher makes it to the seventh inning.  Two more for the eighth; three for the ninth.  Think how much aces would get paid then!


#13 laloesch

laloesch

    Member

  • Member
  • 1,851 posts

Posted 31 August 2019 - 09:00 AM

It's really too late now to try and work someone else up to a starting role and be effective, although i was really hoping to see Romero (which didn't happen) and maybe Lewis Thorpe.

Other than adding Brusdar Graterol or Jorge Alcala as additional BP arms I don't know what else there is for this team to do down the stretch other than try to get the big four (Berrios, Odorizzi, Pineda and Gibson) ready for a series against the Astros. Hopefully Perez finishes strong and is another option because Gibson is really grinding away here down the strech. The other major concern is Berrios. We need this kid to get things straightened out in his final starts because other than Pineda and Odorizzi the rest of the starters have really struggled in the second half.

Edited by laloesch, 31 August 2019 - 09:09 AM.

  • wabene likes this

#14 Han Joelo

Han Joelo

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 1,682 posts

Posted 31 August 2019 - 09:00 AM

I hope the Twins bring up every single player who's contributed this season, tomorrow.  I feel like the the team's success has been contributed to by so many players, and this is the type of year where everybody, especially those pitchers that have been on the taxi squad, should be up.  Along with Brusdar and Alcala.

 

The nice thing is that several of these guys are battle-tested, and should rightfully feel like they played a significant part in whatever happens in the post-season, whether they get on the roster or not.

 

I'm pretty confident we'll see the Medium Five (starters) get some added rest, starting Monday, as the pitcher that day is still "TBD," at least on MLB.com.


#15 Brock Beauchamp

Brock Beauchamp

    A Little Teapot

  • Owner
  • 22,936 posts

Posted 31 August 2019 - 01:03 PM

I understand rolling with five starters through the Cleveland series but if the Twins can stretch out their lead to 5+ games after that’s done, I’d like to see Smeltzer plugged into the rotation and both Berrios and Gibson to start a few bullpen games. Basically, keep their arms fresh but pull them after 60 or so pitches a few times.
  • SQUIRREL and DocBauer like this

#16 DocBauer

DocBauer

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 5,784 posts

Posted 31 August 2019 - 01:12 PM

Absolutely agree on a rest for Gibson and, IMO, I feel he is under weight due to his illness and never quite got all his lost weight and strength back. To me, it seems obvious at this point.

I think a rest for Berrios is also on order, but more of the mental break variety by missing a turn.

I see no good reason...other than a sudden loss in games ahead standing...where Smeltzer, Thorpe, or a ML version of a bullpen game couldn't be done a couple times in September.
"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

--Lou Brown


#17 stringer bell

stringer bell

    In the Twilight of a Mediocre Career

  • Moderator
  • 9,271 posts
  • LocationElgin, MN

Posted 31 August 2019 - 01:21 PM

If the Twins get the lead up over five games, I think it might figure that Smeltzer or Thorpe start an occasional game against the Tigers, Royals or White Sox, perhaps as soon as Sunday or Monday. While I don't have a lot of trust in any of the starters, I do believe in them more than the AAA guys.

  • DocBauer likes this



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: jose berrios, kyle gibson, michael pineda