A 15-inning loss on Sunday. The largest blown eighth-inning lead in team history on Monday. Those two games prompted plenty of criticisms of Twins' manager Paul Molitor's handling of his bullpen.
I'm not sure what he could have done differently. And I've already suggested a fix for baseball's frequently-taxed bullpens.
After the 15-inning loss, the Twins called up two pitchers, Drew Rucinski and Jason Wheeler.
So why didn't Molitor use his fresh pitchers on Monday?
Well, Wheeler was meant to be a long reliever. He was called up in case Ervin Santana couldn't pitch deep into the game.
Rucinski had thrown 31 pitches on Saturday, so he was somewhat fresh. He also is not considered as reliable as the other options in the bullpen, or he already would have been in the majors.
Ryan Pressly began the Astros' comeback with his lack of control. He pitched as if he were tired. He also has struggled at times during his Twins career when he is fresh.
Should Molitor have used Rucinski? Easy to say now. I would say if the best setup men in a first-place team's bullpen can't hold a six-run lead, it's probably more about the pitching than the decision-making.
This weekend also affirmed my previous opinion on big-league rosters. Every team should carry a 13-man pitching staff, but with two pitchers a day being made ``inactive.'' This accomplishes many things:
-Prevents last-minute callups of pitchers who are required to fly into town and be ready to pitch immediately, and probably get sent right back down to the minors.
-Prevents managers from using pitchers who probably shouldn't be used on short rest.
-Creates a roster with 14 position players, meaning you'll see more strategic offensive moves at the end of close games instead of constant pitching changes that hold down scores and comebacks.
You could even install a rule that the two inactive pitchers are not allowed into that day's game unless it surpasses 10 innings.
Roy Smalley will join me at 6 on Wednesday at Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis for Roy Smalley's Chin Music, our baseball show on MNSPN.com. Please stop by for live questions and Roy's storytelling.