The good news? As Twins PR maven Dustin Morse tweeted last night, Twins starting pitchers have a 2.98 ERA over their last eight games. They have been much better since a disastrous start to the season.
The bad news? As tweeted by Parker Hageman, three of their starting pitchers rank as three worst in the AL when it comes to strikeout percentage -- Kevin Correia, Kyle Gibson and Ricky Nolasco. They are all striking out fewer than 12 percent of batters. The league average is more than 20 percent. Mike Pelfrey, no longer in the rotation as he serves a stint on the DL, is even worse at 8.4 percent.
The additions of Nolasco and Phil Hughes were supposed to help the strikeout-challenged Twins become less of a pitch-to-contact team. So far, the narrative hasn't followed. Nolasco, who was at 19.8 percent last year, is way down this year -- small sample size, but also his first time pitching for an American League team. Hughes has done his part at 19.9 percent, right around his career average.
But that hasn't been nearly enough to offset the rest of the rotation. Twins starters have just 94 strikeouts in 30 starts this season. The next-lowest team in MLB is the White Sox at 131. Cleveland, which faces the Twins tonight, has more than twice as many Ks from its starters (193) than the Twins.
Sam Deduno, who has a 21.7 percent rate as a reliever this year after being at 14.5 percent as a starter last year, should help a tiny bit. But for the most part, this remains a pitch-to-contact staff, offseason narrative notwithstanding.