Found August 04, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
Twins_vs_royals_f2a0
Last Saturday, Brian Duensing had just a few hours between a late-night text from pitching coach Rick Anderson and his Sunday start against the Indians. It was a six-inning, one-run affair, a last-minute start after the team traded Francisco Liriano to the White Sox. That afternoon, Duensing proved that perhaps no preparation is the best kind.On Friday, in his second start since rejoining the rotation, Duensing went from spot start sensation to something closer to average, but even in doing so showed signs of growth. And though five runs in six innings isn't quite Cy Young material, only two of those runs were earned, and it was still enough to keep the Twins in the game.In the 6-5, 10-inning Twins win in Boston, Duensing gave up four of the Red Sox' five runs in the third inning, though Carl Crawford's three-run home run was unearned after the Twins' poor defense extended the inning. It was the bullpen Casey Fien, Alex Burnett, Tyler Robertson, Jeff Gray and Jared Burton that ensured the win in four scoreless innings, and the Twins continued to perform better than their record would dictate in one run games; they're 19-19 in such contests this season.Duensing's start may have been rendered somewhat irrelevant by his team's four-run fifth inning and its airtight relief pitching, but his performance on Friday was significant nonetheless. It proved that the Twins pitching staff's inconsistency has bred a certain level of flexibility that might pay off in the season's final months.Duensing, who's been in the major leagues since 2009, has transitioned in and out of the Twins' starting rotation since his debut. He started nine games in 2009 and 13 in 2010 before spending all but four of his 32 appearances as a starter last season. This year, he was first relegated to the bullpen before being pulled into the rotation for two separate stints. That's significant change for a pitcher, especially in today's climate of defined roles, and his ability to perform competently in both roles might be Duensing's greatest value to the Twins.Ron Gardenhire has not been shy about his belief that pitchers should be versatile. When closer Matt Capps was healthy, he used him in non-save situations, and since he's been injured, Gardenhire has given multiple pitchers a chance to earn a save. When the team called up reliever Luis Perdomo for last Friday's game, the young pitcher was touted for his multi-inning outings in the minor leagues. In 10 relief appearances in Rochester since June 29, Perdomo pitched two or more innings five times and as many as 3.2 innings on one occasion. Although Gardenhire did not specifically state that Perdomo would be used in long relief, he did acknowledge that allowing young pitchers in the system to be flexible and stretch themselves is crucial. It hasn't been by choice, but Gardenhire has manipulated his pitching rotation and that of Triple-A Rochester by default throughout the season. As the Twins struggle to keep themselves out of the AL Central cellar at season's end, at this point the team's young pitchers should work to show their versatility more than anything else. That might be the most valuable commodity for a Twins team in transition, and in that respect, Duensing likely did enough on Friday night.His 90 pitches marked the most he's thrown this season, his highest pitch count since Aug. 28, 2011, and Gardenhire's desire to keep Duensing stretched out even when he was sent back to the bullpen in mid-July. Duensing wasn't lights-out in Boston, not by far, but not every series can be as perfect as last weekend's against the Indians, not every start as assuredly dominant. Duensing didn't get a decision on Friday, but his efforts shouldn't be forgotten, both for his struggles and his growth. It wasn't perfect, but for now, there seems no immediate need to change the rotation once again. Flexibility in pitching might be a growing trend, one that the Twins have benefited from this season to some extent. But perhaps that flexibility pays off most when it's no longer needed, and it's up to Duensing to stabilize his performances to ensure a steadier role. Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Mauer's swing of momentum proves his value

The Minnesota Twins may be struggling this season, but 2012 has been a return to form for catcher Joe Mauer. On Saturday night in Fenway Park, the five-time All-Star providedfurther evidence that hes back after an injury-ravaged 2011 season. With the Twins trailing in the ninth inning, he calmly worked a 3-2 count with two outs, then hammered an opposite-field three-run home run...

Twins prospect Wimmers to have elbow surgery

Minnesota Twins pitching prospect Alex Wimmers will undergo Tommy John surgery Thursday on his right elbow, the team announced Thursday.Wimmers was Minnesota's first-round pick (21st overall) out of Ohio State in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft. Since then, he has appeared in just 19 games in the minors due to numerous injuries. He attempted to rehab a slight tear in his...

Mauer's swing of momentum proves he's back

The Minnesota Twins may be struggling this season, but 2012 has been a return to form for catcher Joe Mauer. On Saturday night in Fenway Park, the five-time All-Star providedfurther evidence that hes back after an injury-ravaged 2011 season. With the Twins trailing in the ninth inning, he calmly worked a 3-2 count with two outs, then hammered an opposite-field three-run home run...

Twins' Deduno scratches, claws way to 3-0

Somehow, some way, Samuel Deduno is 3-0 for the Minnesota Twins.Deduno stymied the Boston Red Sox on Thursday in just his fifth career start, holding them to only two hits in six scoreless innings as the Twins beat Boston 5-0 at Fenway Park. Oddly enough, Deduno threw fewer than half of his pitches for strikes. He finished with 101 pitches in six innings; only 50 of them went for...

Twins prospect Wimmers has Tommy John surgery

Alex Wimmers is the latest Minnesota Twins pitching prospect sent for Tommy John surgery. The Twins said Wimmers had the ligament replacement operation on his right elbow performed Thursday in Minneapolis by team physician Dr. Dan Buss. The right-hander was Minnesota's first-round draft pick in 2010, out of Ohio State, but he has logged only 62 1-3 innings in the minors. He...

Twins 5, Red Sox 0

Samuel Deduno allowed two hits in six innings in his third straight strong performance and the Minnesota Twins spoiled a rare solid outing by Jon Lester and beat the Boston Red Sox 5-0 on Thursday night. Brian Dozier had three hits for Minnesota, including a two-run homer in the ninth. Deduno, making his sixth major league start, has given up just two earned runs and 10 hits in...

Twins 6, Red Sox 5(10)

Jamey Carroll had four hits, including a go-ahead single in the 10th inning that sent the Minnesota Twins over the Boston Red Sox 6-5 Friday night. Carroll and Justin Morneau each went 4 for 4 - Morneau doubled twice and Carroll also doubled. Darin Mastroianni led off the 10th with a double. After third baseman Will Middlebrooks made a spectacular diving catch on a foul ball by...

Happy Hour – Just 27 Wins Away

After dropping their second straight to the pathetic Minnesota Twins, the Orioles had fallen to 46-44. After being 39-27 and on top of the world, the O’s had lost 17 of their last 24 games. I assumed that the eventual freefall that O’s fans have become accustomed to had begun and another 90 loss season [...]

Twins rally past Red Sox with four-run ninth

BOSTON – While the Twins outhit the Red Sox, they struggled to get on the scoreboard. But Minnesota continued to fight back, twice eliminating two-run deficits, and it finally paid off when they scored four runs in the ninth inning Saturday night for a 6-4 win in Fenway Park. “Wow! What a finish,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Some great at-bats in the end and Joe...

Twins 6, Red Sox 5

BOSTON -- Jamey Carroll stroked his fourth hit of the game to deliver Darin Mastroianni from second base with one out in the 10th inning, capping a comeback that saw the lowly Minnesota Twins rally from a 5-1 deficit and nip the Red Sox 6-5 Friday night. Mastroianni led off the inning with a double off loser Vicente Padilla (4-1). Brian Dozier attempted to sacrifice but his foul...

Jamey Carroll Punishes Red Sox on Night When Boston Offense Is Stuck 'Off-Key' (Video)

Fourteen hits, but only five runs for the Red Sox. That wasn't enough to beat the lowly Minnesota Twins, and another possible win slipped through the Sox' grasp. The Twins, on the other hand, had no problem at all putting together a run when it mattered, scoring in the top of the 10th inning on a single by No. 9 hitter Jamie Carroll, capping off a 4-for-4 performance at the...

Red Sox can't solve Deduno in Twins' shutout victory

BOSTON -- Minnesota right-hander Sam Deduno, making just his fifth major league start this season, flummoxed the Red Sox at Fenway Park Thursday night as the Twins beat Boston 5-0. Deduno went six innings, allowing just two hits, with four walks and a strikeout, to earn the win. He improved to 3-0, lowering his ERA to 2.48. It was the first time the Twins shut out the Sox...

Twins 6, Red Sox 4

BOSTON – While the Twins outhit the Red Sox, they struggled to get on the scoreboard. But Minnesota continued to fight, twice eliminating two-run deficits, and it finally paid off when they scored four runs in the ninth for a 6-4 win Saturday night in Fenway Park. It’s the first time the Twins have won three in a row since winning five straight from Sept. 25, 1993 to June 15...

BoSox Preview: Four Games vs. Minnesota

By SBRForum.com Through all the injuries and headaches and lousy pitching performances and everything else, the Red Sox find themselves at a game over .500 at the moment and just 3.5 games out in the AL Wild-Card race. Can Boston make up some ground this weekend when it hosts the 44-60 Minnesota Twins for four games at Fenway Park? Let’s consider, and contemplate some free MLB...

Game 106: Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins

Time: 7:10 PM ET TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI Red Sox (53-52) Ellsbury CF Crawford LF Pedroia 2B Gonzalez 1B Ross DH Lavarnway C Middlebrooks 3B Kalish RF Ciriaco SS Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (5-8, 5.49) Twins (44-60) Span CF Revere RF Willingham DH Morneau 1B Doumit LF Valencia 3B Dozier SS Butera C Casilla 2B Pitching: RHP Samuel Deduno (2-0, 3.13)
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.