The Twins bullpen is the final key to their success. As mentioned earlier the Twins success depends on closer Glenn Perkins shortening games to eight innings. But the Twins starting pitching is not going to get them to the ninth inning on their own very often.
Last year, the Twins bullpen was one of its strong points.
Jared Burton, emerged last year as the Twins primary setup guy. Aside from Glen Perkins he is the only returning player who spent the whole year in the bullpen.
Brian Duensing bounced between the rotation and setup guy last year. He needs to emerge as a major contributor in the bullpen this year.
Anthony Swarzak was a swing man last year, moving between long relief and the rotation. He starts the year on the disabled list, but the Twins need for him to emerge as a stable part of the bullpen.
Casey Fien and Tyler Robertson were called up in early July and late June respectively. Fien was a solid middle reliever. Robertson is a lefty specialist. He is almost unhittable by lefties, but struggles against right handers.
Brian Roenicke was picked up off waivers from Colorado. He is projected as another middle inning guy.
Ryan Pressly is the last member of the bullpen. He was taken in the rule 5 draft. He was shifted to the bullpen in the minor leagues last year, pitched well in the Arizona Fall league, showing velocity into the mid-90's, much higher than he had as a starter and had a great spring training.
Performance by the bullpen, with a few exceptions, is always uncertain. But with the Twins starting pitching, they can't afford many bullpen meltdowns. They are going to need six innings from their starter, two innings from the middle relief and a lights out performance by Glenn Perkins.