Bullpen hitting bump in the road

Twins may add reinforcements at Deadline

Bullpen hitting bump in the road

MINNEAPOLIS -- Just a few days before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, likely the biggest item on the Twins' wish list revealed itself once more: Minnesota needs bullpen reinforcements.

In a tie game tied in the eighth, the Pirates broke through off relievers Casey Fien and Brian Duensing, scoring four runs. The Twins stormed right back with four runs before Jung Ho Kang got to closer Glen Perkins with a homer in the ninth in the Twins' 8-7 loss.

Twins relievers have given up runs in four straight games, surrendering six runs in the weekend series against the Yankees.

"There are times when I maybe think about the game and wonder if I did the right thing, but there's a lot of times that you feel like you do and you just have to deal with the results whatever they may be," manager Paul Molitor said. "For the most part, guys have responded when you've called on them to come in. It's not always going to be that way."

And those results haven't been positive. Perkins, an All-Star who started the season with 28 consecutive saves, has now been hit hard in two straight games.

On Saturday, he came in with the Twins leading by one and gave up four runs on two home runs. Tuesday, he left a slider up to Kang. Perkins said he didn't locate that pitch or slider to Pedro Alvarez, who singled after Kang.

"Bad games are going to happen. I've been saying that all year long and it [stinks] that it's right now. It [stinks] that they're lumped together," Perkins said. "Can't do anything other than continue to go out and try to make pitches. I made multiple bad pitches the other night. I made one bad pitch tonight and that one in my position, that can cost you the game."

But the club's bullpen problems extend much further than Perkins' recent struggles. Stretching back a month, Fien has given up 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings. Duensing has had his fair share of trouble, with an ERA north of 5.50. And the list goes on as the team's bullpen ERA sits in the bottom 10 of Major League Baseball.

All that begs the question: Will the Twins improve their bullpen? They've lost 7 of 10 games, but still hold an AL Wild Card spot by two games. General manager Terry Ryan said before the game he hoped the team would make a move by the Deadline.

And presumably, it will be one that would help improve a bullpen that has struggled lately.

"I think we managed the game fairly well as far as playing people in the right spots," Molitor said. It's never perfect, but sometimes like I said, you don't get the results that you like."

Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.