Revamped Twins bullpen starts to turn corner

The Minnesota Twins‘ offseason effort to beef up their bullpen is starting to pay off.

Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed and Zach Duke were brought in to help revamp a bullpen that had the fourth-highest ERA in the American League last season.

The group has pitched well this month, and ranks near the top of the AL in ERA, opponent batting average, opponent OPS, WHIP and walks per nine innings.

Twins, Reliever Stats Since May 1 (w/AL ranks)

ERA 2.78 (2nd)
Opp. AVG .228 (4th)
Opp. OPS .663 (3rd)
WHIP 1.14 (3rd)
BB/9 2.78 (5th)

More reinforcements could be on the way. Trevor May, who is working his way back after Tommy John surgery, made his third rehab start earlier this week, allowing three runs on three hits in four innings for Triple-A Rochester.

But while the Twins made major additions to their starting rotation as well — Lance Lynn via free agency and Jake Odorizzi via trade — they’ve gotten an unexpected upgrade from within.

Fernando Romero has been lights out since making his major-league debut May 2. The 23-year-old, who started the season as the Twins’ No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has a 1.66 ERA through four starts. It’s among the best such performances in Twins history.

Twins, lowest ERA in First 4 Starts of MLB Career – Since 1961

Name ERA Dates
Joe Mays 0.82 6/21/1999 – 7/7/1999
Fernando Romero 1.66 5/2/2018 – 5/19/2018
Brian Duensing 1.88 7/29/2009 – 9/2/2009
Dave Goltz 1.97 7/23/1972 – 8/17/1972
Dwight Siebler 2.43 8/29/1963 – 9/17/1963

Other notes:

— Twins outfielder Max Kepler has a 1.086 OPS against left-handed pitchers this season, second in the majors.

— The Twins aren’t relying on home runs for offense, and score just 34 percent of their runs via the long ball, the fifth-lowest percentage in the league.

Mariners ace James Paxton has dominated in his last three outings. He leads the majors in complete games (2), quality starts (3), opponent batting average (.115), opponent OPS (.362) and WHIP (0.54) over that span.

Statistics courtesy of STATS