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Minnesota Twins Building Momentum and a Bullpen

PHOENIX - MAY 08:  Relief pitcher Jon Rauch #57 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Washington Nationals during the game at Chase Field on May 8, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Nationals defeated the Diamondbacks 5-4.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
John ParentCorrespondent IAugust 28, 2009

The Minnesota Twins are closing in fast, and they’ve added re-enforcements. MLB Trade Rumors has links to two deals the Twins pulled off today in an effort to bolster their bullpen, and gain ground of the front-running Detroit Tigers

In separate deals, Minnesota added lefty Ron Mahay from Kansas City and right handed setup man Jon Rauch from Arizona.

The Twins have won five of their last six and have closed to within one-half game of second place Chicago, but still sit four-and-a-half games behind Detroit.  The Twins host the White Sox for three games starting Monday.

Minnesota has struggled to find consistent pitching this season, a stark contrast from years past. The Twins’ offense has carried the club this season. Minnesota added RHP Carl Pavano in a deal earlier this season to bolster a slumping rotation. 

The additions of Mahay and Rauch should help boost the bullpen in front of closer Joe Nathan. Minnesota has struggled to get the ball to Nathan at times this season. 

The 38-year-old Mahay is a lefty specialist that has struggled this season for Kansas City. Over his career, he has held left handed hitters to a .234 average, but this season lefties have hit him at a .278 clip. If he can find any of his old form, he could help.

Rauch is an imposing 6'11" right-hander and former closer. But the former strike out artist has seen his K:BB ratio slip to a career low 2.08 this season, fanning just 5.68 batters per nine innings, also a career low. 

Both of these players are low risk acquisitions that could potentially help, but only if either or both of them revert to earlier form. At this stage of the season, both players figure to be an upgrade over the front end of the bullpen the Twins had been using. 

If they pan out, adding Mahay and Rauch to Matt Guerrier and Jose Mijares could give the Twins one of the better bullpens in the league.  If not, the middle innings will continue to be struggle.

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