Twins' bullpen working overtime since break

Twins' bullpen working overtime since break

KANSAS CITY -- Despite the bullpen faltering in the Twins' 4-3 loss to the Orioles on Thursday, manager Ron Gardenhire said he still has confidence in his relievers.

But Gardenhire admitted it'll be tough for the bullpen to remain effective if they keep throwing so many innings. Entering Friday's game, Twins relievers ranked third in the Majors in innings pitched with 327 2/3.

"When you're going to them in the sixth inning every game and you need three or four innings every day, it's going to get out of a whack," Gardenhire said. "[Matt] Capps could've been part of that helping out in the seventh, eighth and ninth, but now he's out. So we expect other people to step up like [Alex] Burnett."

Burnett has been solid this year with a 3.15 ERA in 40 appearances, but was saddled with the loss on Thursday after walking two batters that eventually scored in the eighth inning.

Left-hander Glen Perkins was unavailable while right-hander Jared Burton was lined up to be closer. Gardenhire said the fact that the club has 13 straight games out of the All-Star break hasn't helped matters.

"It just eats you up because you don't get that break," Gardenhire said. "It's kind of crazy coming out of the All-Star break where you have four days off and then immediately out of the break we threw 27 innings, and [12] were from the bullpen the first three games. You think they get rested, but then you're back at it again. So we're doing the best we can."