Bullpen’s performance the key for Twins

As their bullpen goes, so do the Minnesota Twins.

That’s the theme early on in 2018, as the 13-17 Twins look to claw their way back to the top of the division after falling two games behind the 17-17 Cleveland Indians.

Minnesota’s bullpen has a combined 1.38 ERA and 2.05 opponent batting average in wins, and an 8.38 ERA with a .325 opponent batting average in losses.

Wins Losses
ERA 1.38 8.38
Opp. BA .205 .325
Opp. OPS .590 .970
HR/9 IP 0.99 2.26
IRS%* 25.0 52.8

*Inherited runners scored percentage

They’ll back starting pitcher Fernando Romero for a second time Monday, as the rookie takes the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals for his second career start. Romero impressed last week in his debut, allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out five in 5 2/3 innings, part of a 4-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

He’s just the fourth Twins pitcher ever to win his major-league debut with five-plus strikeouts, joining current starter Kyle Gibson, Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven and Darrell Jackson.

Player Date Opponent
Bert Blyleven 6/5/1970 at Senators
Darrell Jackson 6/16/1978 vs. Tigers
Kyle Gibson 6/29/2013 vs. Royals
Fernando Romero 5/2/2018 vs. Blue Jays

Other notes:

— The Twins and the Cardinals first met in the 1987 World Series.

— Road wins are rare in this series. The Twins are 10-2 against the Cardinals all-time in Minnesota, while the Cardinals are 13-4 in St. Louis.

— Twins designated hitter Logan Morrison is heating up after a slow start. He’s hitting .304 this month with two home runs after .145 through the first month of the season.

— Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez has a 1.77 ERA in interleague play, the second-lowest all-time (minimum 10 starts) in such matchups.

— Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario has an extra-base hit in all six games this month, tied for the second-longest streak of extra-base hits to start a single month in team history.

— Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter has a 1.027 OPS against American League teams, seventh all-time.

Statistics courtesy of STATS