Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Brian Duensing: Quietly amazing this spring

At the beginning of Spring Training the Twins had a cluster of pitchers fighting to get into the rotation. With the announcement that Scott Baker will get the 5th spot in the rotation, there is some finality for fans. This means that Kevin Slowey will start the season in the bullpen if he is not traded in the next week and a half.

One pitcher is quietly having a very solid spring for the Twins. Brian Duensing has amassed some great numbers as he enters his first season as a full time starter. In 17 innings pitched, Duensing has given up three earned runs on 17 hits along with 12 Ks. His ERA is an excellent 1.59 and he has an outstanding 1.18 WHIP.

Many people have discussed the fact that Spring Training statistics are irrelevant. For the most part, a pitcher is usually trying to work on all of his pitches. Each player tries to find the location of their fastball and then adjust their other pitches so they are ready to go for Opening Day of the regular season.

On Monday, Duensing showed the Twins that he is close to being ready for the start of the season. He pitch five innings allowing one unearned run on five hits. This was the second solid outing in a row. The previous start he allowed two earned runs over four innings.

Because of his performances this spring, the team felt confident enough in Duensing to name him as the third member of the starting rotation. Duensing will actually get the fourth start of the regular season to break up the two left-handed pitchers in the rotation. This means that Duensing will get to start the season on the same field that he ended on last year, Yankee Stadium.

Duensing has a great chance to shine in the Twins rotation during the up-coming season. Over the last two seasons Duensing has shown that he can be an effective starter in the second half of the season. This will be Duensing's chance to prove he can put together two solid halves and be a middle of the rotation starter on a playoff team.

The Twins have had a lot of story lines following the club this spring: Mauer's knee, Morneau's concussion, Nishioka's arrival, and Nathan's return. These other headlines have let Duensing quietly go about his business. If he keeps pitching like he has been, he won't be quiet for long...

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