Red Sox: Where starting rotation ranks among AL playoff teams
By Sean Penney
Playoff Rotation: Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Bartolo Colon
The Twins rank a distant last on this list with a rotation that was 10th in the league with a 4.73 ERA and 7.7 fWAR.
Minnesota used a staggering 16 different pitchers to start at least one game, so the bevy of spot starters clearly dragged down the staff’s overall production. However, if you count only the four pitchers who make up the Twins expected postseason rotation if they advance to the ALDS, their collective 4.17 ERA would still rate last among AL playoff teams.
Santana was easily their best pitcher, ranking fifth in the league with a 3.28 ERA. The career year for the right-hander was a bit of smoke and mirrors. His 4.77 xFIP indicates he wasn’t nearly as effective as his ERA suggests and his middling K/9 and K/BB ratio are below the standards of the typical ace.
If the Twins manage to win the Wild Card game, Santana would likely only be available for one start in the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians. That’s bad news for Minnesota, as none of their other pitchers can stack up against what the Tribe will throw at them.
Berrios had a solid first full season in the big leagues but was a disaster on the road (5.17 ERA) where he’ll likely take the mound in a potential series with Cleveland. He found success in his lone trip to Progressive Field this season, holding the Indians to one run over 7 1/3 innings. Minnesota would need a repeat performance to have a chance considering he’ll be matched up against Corey Kluber.
Gibson’s season numbers are horrific but he vastly improved over the second half, posting a 3.76 ERA over his final 13 starts.
Colon is no lock to take the final rotation spot. At times he looked to be perhaps the worst pitcher in baseball yet he managed to stick in Minnesota’s rotation. The same can’t be said for Adalberto Mejia, who pitched mostly in long relief down the stretch. The experience factor probably gives Big Sexy the nod but it probably won’t be pretty – if the Twins even make it that far.