The 2015 Twins were spoiled in the first half of the season by two fairly significant bullpen events.
Closer Glen Perkins was nearly unhittable before the All-Star break, posting a 1.21 ERA and going 28-for-28 in save opportunities.
Perkins' dominance was part of an outlier month of May for Twins relievers, who posted a 3.40 ERA while the team won 20 games and vaulted to the American League's best record after a dreadful start. The Twins' bullpen ERA in every other month was higher than that.
Perkins was beset by injuries and ineffectiveness in the second half, but Kevin Jepsen (and a host of others) picked up much of the slack. The hope going into 2016 on the part of the Twins was that A) Perkins would be healthy and regain his form while B) Jepsen continued to pitch at his 2015 level.
The Twins are paying for their optimism in critical situations. Perkins is hurt, and Jepsen has faltered in several late-game situations.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.