The Minnesota Twins took a flier on journeyman relief pitcher Blaine Boyer this offseason and signed him to a minor league contract.
Nobody thought much of the move when it was first made and the odds of Boyer breaking camp with the Twins still didn’t seem likely, but today it has become a signing that has really helped the Minnesota bullpen succeed.
Boyer has made getting batters out look incredibly easy over the last month, but that wasn’t always the case. After the Twins took a leap of faith by putting him on the 25-man roster to open the season, Boyer had an ERA of 18.00 through his first four outings of the season. Since allowing three earned runs while failing to get an out against the Chicago White Sox on April 12th, Boyer has not allowed a run since then; a stretch of 17.2 innings.
It would have been very easy for the Twins to give up on Boyer and cut ties with him after the horrible start, but a number of injuries to fellow relief pitchers made that impossible. Minnesota has sent Casey Fien, Tim Stauffer and Brian Duensing to the disabled list so far this season. With every hit that the Twins take, Boyer’s role gets bigger and bigger as he continues to impress.
He is currently coming off one of his better showings of the season. Minnesota opened up an early 7-0 lead against the Pittsburgh Pirates last night but slowly saw it dwindle away as the game went on. Boyer entered the game with just a three run lead in the 7th inning but the situation was not easy; two men on and just one out. He went into cruise control and breezed through the rest of the 7th and then followed it up with a perfect 8th inning, lowering his season ERA to 2.18. Glen Perkins took over from there and gave the Twins the victory, allowing them to hold onto the second AL wild card spot.
Maybe the most impressive thing in all of this is that the 33-year old’s career has looked over multiple times. Boyer has pitched for six different Major League clubs since making his debut in 2005. He retired after being designated for assignment by the New York Mets in 2011 but went to Japan to play in 2013 before catching on with the San Diego Padres last season.