As the trade deadline approached there were many big name pitchers on the market. At the end of July Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, and Roy Oswalt all switched uniforms in the heat of the pennant race. The Twins missed out on all three of these big name pitchers. But within their own bullpen rested the arm that they had relied on towards the end of the 2009 season. Could he be the starting pitcher to ail their woes?
As Brian Duensing takes the field tonight against the Detroit Tigers, he has been a savior for the Twins pitching staff. As a starter in 2009 he finished the season with a (5-2) record and the Twins were (6-3) in games that he started. Those numbers have improved for the 2010 campaign. In the six games that he has started in 2010 Duensing has compiled a (4-1) record and he has pitched at least 6 innings in all but one of those starts.
Just look at Duensing's combined 2nd half stats from the last two years:
Win %: .769
Opponent BA: .262
Compare that to the 2nd half numbers of the other stud pitchers that were available at the trade deadline:
Win %: .603
Opponent BA: .265
Win %: .526
Opponent BA: .277
Win %: .745
Opponent BA: .250
In most statistical categories, Duensing has out performed these three pitchers and the numbers that they have put up in the 2nd half over their careers. He has quietly been making a difference in the pennant race over the course of two seasons. By biding his time and waiting for the opportunity, he has made a mark on this franchise.
Duensing wasn't a big flashy name at the trade deadline but maybe he was just the pitcher that the Twins needed. He has outperformed many of the other players with the big flashy names. While at the same time the Twins didn't have to dump their entire farm system on a rental player that they would lose to the Yankees in the winter. The Twins have done what they do best, promote from within their own system. It is a formula that has worked and for the last two seasons Duensing has been their 2nd half stud.