WHAT IT MEANS
Not only will the Twins not have Michael Pineda for the rest of the season, but he won’t be eligible to pitch in the playoffs either — a big blow, since he has been the team’s best starter the second half of the season (3.04 ERA in nine starts).
Rest of regular season: The Twins — assuming Kyle Gibson is able to return from injury this week — presumably will continue to trot out their remaining four starters. On Pineda’s day to pitch, the Twins could either turn to someone such as LHP Devin Smeltzer (four starts this season) or RHP Kohl Stewart (two starts), or they could go with a bullpen game, as they did Tuesday at Boston.
Postseason: The Twins most likely were going to move one of their starters to the bullpen in the playoffs anyway, but now the decision as to which four starters they go with appears to have been made for them. Like every other Twins starter besides Jose Berrios, Pineda has no postseason experience, but the way he was pitching, he seemed like a good candidate for a Game 1 start.
Next season: Pineda — whom the Twins signed to a two-year, $10 million contract last year, knowing he was working his way back from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in July 2017 — is a free agent. Because he was able to get his suspension reduced from 80 to 60 games means he will miss 39 games in 2020, but it still figures to hurt his value.
CRACKS IN THE ROTATION
In Michael Pineda, the Twins are losing their most reliable starter. The remaining four members of the rotation have had their ups and downs since the All-Star break:
Jose Berrios: The two-time All-Star has an 8.07 ERA in his past six starts, giving up eight home runs in 32⅓ innings.
Jake Odorizzi: His biggest issue has been getting deep into games; he has pitched six innings only twice since the break.
Martin Perez: Has pitched well in four of his past five starts after it looked like a brutal stretch was going to land him in the bullpen.
Kyle Gibson: Is he healthy? He surprisingly landed on the injured list last week because of ulcerative colitis and has had trouble sleeping.