The best teams in MLB will be working over the next month to address holes and add strength in advance of the July 31 trade deadline. The Twins’ most obvious need is on the pitching staff — maybe a front-line starter, maybe a reliever or two, or maybe both.
But a recent SI.com story notes something interesting: Bullpens across MLB have been downright awful this season. Free agent signings haven’t panned out. Hitters are catching up to fastballs. And starters aren’t going very deep, taxing the depth and stamina of bullpens.
As a result, starting pitchers (4.44) in MLB have a better ERA than relievers (4.48). That hasn’t happened for a full season in more than 50 years, since the mound was lowered in 1969.
And the Twins? For as maligned as their bullpen has been, they entered Tuesday with a cumulative ERA of 4.43 — slightly better than average. Their starters are even better — 3.72, good for fourth-best in baseball, and their strength has helped the Twins avoid overusing the bullpen.