The Twins’ collaborative pitching rotation is off to a strong start – Twin Cities

When pitcher Chris Archer arrived in the big leagues in 2012 at the age of 23, fellow Tampa Bay rotation player David Price was in the midst of the best season of his career. Price would win 20 games that year, hit more than 200 racquets and add a Cy Young Award to his mantle. When not on the mound, he was nurturing a young teammate and taking him under his wing for years to come.

Without him, Archer would say 10 years later, he would not have come close to achieving what he has achieved in baseball. Archer is now the veteran, one of three pitchers in a Twins rotation that boasts an equal mix of experience and youth.

Characterized by a collaborative spirit fueled by faculty and learners, this rotation has been one of baseball’s best to date. The Twins entered Monday with the fifth-best starting pitcher earned run average in the majors at 2.68, second only to the Yankees in the American League.

Already, said Twins pitcher Chris Paddack, the group had formed a close bond that quickly dissolved. And importantly, he said, everyone within the rotation is responsive.

“There’s no such thing as a bad question or a wrong question, and it obviously helps when we’re out there observing each other, midweek,” Paddack said. “Everyone out there is going over holds, thinking, ‘What’s your mindset?’ or “Hey, how are you feeling?” or ‘Fuck that off, we know it was bad, but hey, you’ve got two days to prepare for the pitch and you’re going to dominate.’ All of this is an important factor that makes our rotation special and that chemistry isn’t just one man out there, it’s six.”

The twins’ starters — Joe Ryan, 26, Sonny Gray, 32 (currently injured), Bailey Ober, 26, Dylan Bundy, 29, Archer, 33, and Paddack, 26 — have a combined 1.01 WHIP (walks and hits per innings ) achieved. , which ranks second in the majors, and batters combined batting just .208 against them.

While the pitching rotation was mostly patched up after the lockout — within less than a month, the twins traded for Gray and Paddack and signed Archer — the group turned what was something of a question mark into a team strength.

“It’s a really interesting, talented group of guys who can do a lot of different things. But for that to come together and work the way it’s working up until now and hopefully for the foreseeable future, you need to get the right people involved,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “They have to have the right people working with them. You have to have the right plan for every pitcher because each of these guys has a very different way of going out and executing a plan.”

And so far the twins (8-8) have had all of that.

The results were there early — all four pitchers who made three starts have ERAs under 3.20, with Bundy leading at .59 — in part due to the work the starters did off the hill.

When Gray joined the camp, the starters began watching each other’s bullpen sessions. He had an attentive audience watching his first session in Fort Myers, Fla., which included Ryan, Ober and some of the team’s top pitching candidates. It’s a practice he did back in Cincinnati, too.

“Big O and Joe and Bundy, we can all help each other, but we can’t help each other if we don’t look out for each other,” Gray said earlier this month. “It just gets baseball conversations going.”

And it’s something that Ryan, Ober and Paddack alluded to as a great resource back at the start of the season.

“I think it just helps to watch each other’s bullpens and kind of get away from that and just see different things that could help guys fight in certain areas,” Ryan said. “I just like the extra eyes and especially for me some of these guys have gotten so much time[in baseball]and made it so long it’s like a book right? They provide all this information and I can only read it.”

Archer is the longest-serving major league player, having debuted and served in six games in 2012. Bundy also made the majors briefly that year. Gray has been around since 2013.

Of all the young starters, Ryan was the most familiar with Archer as the pair were teammates in the Rays organization last season. Ryan has already credited Archer with giving him some sliders to help him keep his breaking ball more consistent.

“Different things work for different people,” Archer said. “I’ve learned so much. Any little thing I can do to help, I’m willing to do. It can be finger pressure on a pitch or a certain mentality on a pitch, so it’s kind of things like that.”

While Archer said he’s not one to go up to someone and tell them what to do when they ask or it comes up in conversation, he’s more than willing to share.

And the rest of the Twins starters help share their expertise and finish with great early results.

“These guys have served exceptionally up to this point, I think. And you expect that,” Baldelli said. “The more you see it, the more you expect people to go out there and take out the opposition, and it’s probably going to get a little competitive with each other, I think. You want to win. I mean, they’re not out there to get theirs. They’re out there to win games, all these guys.” The Twins’ collaborative pitching rotation is off to a strong start – Twin Cities

Jessica MacLeish

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