Oh, the Twins bullpen. First of all, let me say that the White Sox series was incredible. I had the privilege of going to the third game of that series, and it was AMAZING!! Best game I have seen in my life. Overall in the series, the bullpen did an incredible job. The only blemish in game one was the two run home run given up by Guerrier in the ninth inning. It was harmlessthough, as the Twins were still up 9-3 after the bomb. In game two, they held a 3-2 lead throughout the late innings and Joe Nathan somewhat shut the door in the ninth for a save. Of course, he made it interesting as he so often does. Game three included an incredible performance by the bullpen. As Slowey exited in the 4th with a wrist injury, the crowd collectively held their breaths. Which bullpen would show up? Well the dominant bullpen showed up. Reyes really got the momentum going with his third out strikeout of Griffey, Jr. in the fifth inning. From there on out, the bullpen absolutely got the job done, not allowing a run for the rest of the game while the offense kept chipping away, eventually winning the game in the tenth inning on Casilla's single into center.
We need the bullpen to show up like they did against the White Sox in this most recent series. Joe Nathan is solid; he's one of the best closers in the game. It is before Joe that makes people nervous. Ever since Pat Neshek went down early on this season, the bullpen just has not been as strong as in years past. Jesse Crain makes me nervous a lot of the times he goes out there. I know this is not good, but he needs to be the pitcher he was last year and the year before that. Reyes can be dirty, such as when he struck out Griffey, Jr this past series, but he has his moments when he definitely does not deserve his paycheck. I've always had a problem with the times when he comes in to face one batter, and he does not get him out. It's baseball, he's not going to succeed every time, but Reyes is getting paid a lot of money to face one batter each game with the occasional full inning. He needs to be solid, every time on the mound. Craig Breslow gives Gardy a nice left-handed option out of the bullpen. He can pitch anywhere from one batter to multiple innings. It is always nice when you can bring lefties out of the pen, and the Twins do have multiple options for left-handed pitchers. Reyes, Breslow, and now Mijares are all options. Speaking of Mijares, I feel as though he could definitely benefit the bullpen if indeed the Twins make the playoffs. He has a ton of emotion and drive right now. I feel that is partly because he's still jacked about being on the big league club.
In order for the Twins to be successful in their possible playoff appearance, the bullpen needs to be dominant. The offense is not powerful enough to carry the team. The starters are beginning to pick it up again and are going deeper into games, but none of these guys will go 8 or 9 innings when they pitch. The bullpen is the key to this team's success. Let's beat Chicago in this winner-take-all one game playoff and move on to St. Petersburg. Bullpen, you need to show up.