The Twins started their season white hot, but experienced some tribulations as injuries mounted and the team started to regress. The team fell on hard times just before the trade deadline and not only lost their grasp on first in the central, but on the 2nd spot as well.
Despite crossing the trade deadline in the midst of their longest losing streak in two seasons, the Twins held pat, flying somewhat in the face of what Thad Levine and Derick Falvey have done through their previous trade deadlines.
This was largely because of the work the team has done in previous deadlines and offseasons. There was a slew of players that were on sidelines, injured or suspended, most of whom were added by the illustrias front office pairing. Byron Buxton was drafted by Terry Ryan, but everyone else that has come rushing back to the fold has been a Falvine addition.
Josh Donaldson, Rich Hill and Michael Pineda was an impressive haul for the Twins at the deadline, but they had, of course, already been members of the organization. Donaldson and Hill were new additions this year, but Pineda might have been the biggest key to the Twins recent turn around.
Pineda was one of the top three starters the Twins had, along with Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. Pineda offered stability last season, and grew stronger in recovery from Tommy John surgery. He had durable starts with good results that not only put the Twins in a position to win the games he started, but also saving the bullpen to work in games that didn’t have as effective starts.
Now, after finishing a suspension, Pineda is back to his old tricks, wherein those tricks are “effective starts that give the rest of the staff a break”. After tonight, he’s had 2 2020 starts, and has a sub 3.00 ERA. Today, he threw 103 pitches to get through 7 innings. It’s nice to have an ace at the top of the rotation, but it’s important to have a workhorse in the middle of the rotation too.
Michael Pineda is that workhorse, and he is back. The return to form has been largely a function of the rest of the team playing like they should be, but Pineda starting every fifth game will ensure they don’t get into a funk like they did in August.