The Rochester Red Wings, Minnesota's Triple-A affiliate, head to Norfolk tonight to begin their shorter second half of the 2014 season. Rochester is in second place in the International League North division with a 54-44 record, thanks in large part to the success of the starting rotation. With an idea mix of veterans and talented younger arms, five of the team's six primary starters own ERAs under 4.00.
With Scott Diamond's release and subsequent signing with Cincinnati, it looks like the Red Wings have jettisoned the one primary starter whose ERA was inflated, and their second half rotation ready to go.
New rotation for @RocRedWings starting tonight at Norfolk: Pino, May, Meyer, Darnell, Gilmartin. That puts Pino on track for Tuesday.— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) July 17, 2014
Kris Johnson, who started 16 games in Triple-A with a 2.75 ERA in a team-leading 98.1 innings, is still with the Twins following an emergency start on Friday. Minnesota is currently carrying eight relievers, counting long options Samuel Deduno and Anthony Swarzak, and just four starters - including Johnson.
Yoha Pino starts tonight for the Red Wings, which would pace him to make his second start on Tuesday. Coincidentally, as Berardino mentions, that puts him on schedule for the first time that the Twins would need their fifth starter coming out of the break. It will be interesting to see how the Twins deal with needing that fifth starter, since they could easily option a reliever, but they could also choose to option Johnson, which would open up Wednesday's spot for a healthy Trevor May - again, the timing works out.
Would the Twins be so bold? It wouldn't solve the issue of still needing to have a fifth starter on the roster, but that doesn't make the logistics less feasible. It would certainly behoove the Twins to find roster spots for both May and Alex Meyer in the near future.