The season has gone almost exactly as I thought. I expected the team to stink early, and after the All-Star break figured the young starting pitching would come around and maybe the team would finish with 81 wins.
And if you ignore a detail or two there, that is essentially what has happened, right down to that Livan Hernandez no-hitter I forecast back in May.
But enough about me.
Well, one more thing.
You are reading this fact here first: The Twins have a helluva shot at five pitchers each with at least 10 wins, and if memory serves me right this has never happened in Twinker history. There's been a lot of close, but there have been no cigars as far as I know. (I suspect it's just plain rare for all teams, but I'm not about to do the work to find out.)
The '65 team - still the winningest entry in franchise history - came really close to having six guys in double-digit wins, but finished at four with double-digits and two with 9 each.
So, what's that got to do with the bullpen, you ask?
I'm still hopeful about the Bert Blyleven Vision for a Better World, with starters stretching it out and going 7. Slowey and Perkins are at the bottom of that list - Slowman has made it into the 7th only 4 times in 19 starts, but probably would have done it today if everyone had not stopped to watch Oprah! mid-game.
Perkins has gone into the 7th only four times in 18 starts, but he's made it at least that far in 2 of the past 8, and he's made it to at least six in all of those past 8.
Baker has made it to the 7th 7 times in 19 starts, and 4 of his past 8. And Blackburn has made it there 5 of his last 10, and 10 times in all, which is 24 starts.
These starters have a ridiculously low number of innings worked. Each of the five starters has at least 8 starts left, but only Blackburn should threaten 200 innings at that rate. If Scott Baker started 9 more times and averaged 7 per start, he would top 180 innings only if you counted his 5 minor league innings this year.
These guys are really fresh. Even if you count minor league innings for men such as Liriano and Perkins, it's going to be close as to whether any of them pitch 200 innings.
Because Livan Hernandez actually did what he was hired to do - consume innings as a starting pitcher - the Twins are in the situation where the starters have pitched so little that many of them currently have worked barely twice the number of innings as some relievers.
Baker, Perkins and Slowey are all at 114 or fewer innings. Guerrier and Bass have pitched more than half that many, and Crain and Nathan are close to half that many.
It's an unusual situation, and we can also thank Boof Bonser for eating some innings before he went on that diet and left a lot of his innings on the plate.
In another era, we wouldn't be talking about the bullpen, we'd just be expecting more out of the starters than 6 innings. So, I'm going to be hoping for that, for five guys with at least 10 wins, and some rest for the bullpen, because even though Goose Gossage cleared waivers after his Hall of Fame induction, the Yankees are asking for Morneau in return and there is no relief in sight.