Who is the Minnesota Twins Postseason Closer?

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The Minnesota Twins starting rotation has had a very successful season. They’re the primary reason the team has qualified for the playoffs and hope to solidify home field advantage during this final week of the season.  Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Brian Duensing, Kevin Slowey, Carl Pavano, and Nick Blackburn have all achieved at least ten wins this season. This demonstrates incredible balance and consistency that is rarely seen around the big leagues.

Pavano is the clear leader in innings pitched and in the win column, but he is not an ace in the same sphere as a C.C. Sabathia or David Price. This could prove to be a concern in a short first round playoff series. Fans may recall the impact that Sabathia had when the Brewers used him continuously in their postseason run a few years ago.

By Patrick Herbert

The Twins bullpen has experienced much more upheaval that the rotation thus far. The Twins have picked up some relievers with impressive resumes in Brian Fuentes and Matt Capps. Both have track records as successful pitchers for teams that fell out of contention this year.

Kudos to the organization for entering the market and making the necessary acquisitions when Joe Nathan fell to injury and Jon Rauch stumbled earlier in the season. Even if it could be argued that Rauch regained his velocity and control, he doesn’t have the mental make up to be an effective closer. Players like Mariano Rivera and Heath Bell are unflappable. They don’t let chaos ensue with their emotions when things don’t go their way on the field. They focus, and move on to the task at hand instead of wasting time on what took place in the past.

Picking up Brian Fuentes is key because he adds a lefty component to the back end of the bullpen. Rauch and Capps come from the other side. The team should use them all depending on the score and who is coming to the plate. Having all three will come in handy should the team make it to the World Series because then they would be able to repeatedly use pinch hitters in their spots knowing that an effective pitcher could still come into the game instead of essentially wasting their at bats.

Matt Capps has the lowest earned run average of the three. He is at around two and a quarter while Rauch and Fuentes hover near three. Like wins for starting pitchers, the save is an over-hyped statistic for closers.

It was not his fault that he played for the Washington Nationals. All fans realize D.C. doesn’t win very often. It’s analogous to a superb reliever working the eighth for the Yankees because Rivera has cemented that spot. The hold is the only thing that pitcher can accomplish because of circumstances beyond his control. As mentioned earlier, the others should be utilized to maximize certain potential match-ups that could materialize.

Matt Capps needs to have the ball with a close ninth inning lead.

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