Pitcher Preview: Mike Pelfrey vs Andre Rienzo

USA TODAY Sports

Pelfrey is looking to bounce back after a couple of rough starts. Rienzo is making his fourth career start and second appearance against the Twins.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Mike Pelfrey 4-10 21 21 0 0 0 0 108.1 133 67 64 11 38 65 5.32 1.58

A good outing against the Astros on August 4 has been sandwiched by a pair of rather forgettable starts for Pelfrey, which is the first real rough patch he's hit since coming off of the disabled list in early July. It's been a long, difficult road for Pelfrey, who has had to fight for every inning since getting blown up regularly early in the season. Looking big picture, there have been some positive signs in how effective Mike's been and in how he's looked, so his last six or seven starts of the year could mean the difference between hitting free agency again and getting an offer for 2014 from the Twins.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Andre Rienzo 0-0 3 3 0 0 0 0 18.1 17 9 9 2 11 14 4.42 1.53

In the first three starts of Rienzo's Major League career, results have been a bit of a mixed bag. He allowed three earned runs in seven innings his first time out, a pair of earned runs in six innings in his second start, and then the Twins knocked him around for four runs in five and a third innings five days ago, allowing homers to Justin Morneau and Oswaldo Arcia. But we can tell more about Rienzo by looking past a small sample size.

Rienzo is a 25-year old right-hander who offers a fastball around 90mph, a good cutter, a mid-70s curveball and a changeup. He induces a good number of ground balls, which is part of the reason home runs allowed are few and far between. In the minors he posted good strikeout rates (9.7 K/9 in 543.2 innings), but also had issues with command - something that's already been apparent in three starts for Chicago.

Against right-handed batters, Rienzo works up and away with his fastball and then middle and down and away with his cutter, using the break and difference in velocity to his advantage. The curveball can be hung up in the zone. If he throws a changeup to a right-handed hitter, it'll be once a game. Versus lefties the fastball still works away, and the cutter doesn't change location but now works down and in instead of away. The curve is a good bait pitch, provided he can move it out of the zone. Changeups are exclusively thrown away.

Can the Twins get to Rienzo for the second time in as many starts? Or will Rienzo adapt?

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