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Updated: July 15th, 2014 5:18pm
Wetmore: Perkins has earned cachet as one of game's best relievers

Wetmore: Perkins has earned cachet as one of game's best relievers

Audio Clip
7/7/2014
Sports Over Beers, episode 23. Dave St. Peter on the All-Star Game
Twins President Dave St. Peter joins the Sports Over Beers podcast to talk about this year's All-Star Game at Target Field. The best events of All-Star week, the concert at TCF Bank Stadium, the color run, the parade down Nicollet Mall, the Futures Game, the Home Run Derby and the rest of the party. Are there tickets available for any of the events for the week? Where can fans go to find tickets or seating for any of the All-Star events? How will the Twins and the city of Minneapolis benefit from hosting All-Star week at Target Field? Glen Perkins and Kurt Suzuki will be in the game, but several others with Twins ties will be involved, too. What upgrades have the Twins made to Target Field to make the All-Star Game as good as it can be? -- How were season ticket sales affected by the All-Star Game, and how will that change once the game is a thing of the past? What is St. Peter most looking forward to? (AllStarGame.com.) -- Also, from Mason's Barre in downtown Minneapolis, Phil Mackey and Derek Wetmore have a couple Shock Tops and chat about their expectations for the All-Star Game. What do you want to see in this year’s game and surrounding events (read: party)? Does Justin Morneau stand a chance to make it in the Final Vote? #VoteMorneau. Did Brian Dozier get robbed? How cool is it that Pat Neshek made it? Special thanks to Mason's Barre and Shock Top.
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by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

MINNEAPOLIS - During a year in which many American League relievers have stellar numbers, A.L. manager John Farrell picked Glen Perkins for his bullpen.

Perkins is having a great year, and with six relievers making the team, it's not hard to argue he belongs. But with how many great starters left off the A.L. team, an argument could also be made that Perkins snuck onto the team. With Ron Gardenhire on the coaching staff, it would have stood to reason the Twins manager would have vouched for the closer, which ostensibly could have given him a leg up on other candidates.

Did Gardenhire give Farrell a helpful nudge toward Perkins?

"Nope, nope. That's there decision," Gardenhire said Monday. "I think we all knew who our guys were that were kind of in the running. I had no conversation with [Farrell] one way or the other about selecting this guy or that guy. I think in a few articles we boasted about our guys we thought should [be All-Stars]. Whether they read those or not, I don't know. They have a big selection process and they do their thing, I was happy they took a couple of our guys."

The fact that Farrell picked Perkins without arm-twisting from the home manager speaks to the cachet Perkins has built up. He was an All-Star last season, which Perkins has admitted might help in a bid to make subsequent All-Star games. Being an All-Star, to most, is about sustaining success, rather than popping up on the radar one year and being gone the next.

And Perkins could be having the best year of his career. 

His ERA is 2.97, but that's not a good indication of how he has pitched, since one bad inning can take a season to iron out of a reliever's ERA.

Instead, notice that Perkins is striking out more batters and walking fewer all while giving up fewer home runs. Those are things he can control and he's excelling at them.

His current strikeout rate would be a career high, and his walk rate would be a career low. (Per nine innings, he's striking out 11.21 batters and walking 1.6, both top-15 marks among qualified A.L. relievers.) He's given up just two home runs all season in 39 1/3 innings. He has converted 22 of his 25 save chances and ranks 8th among qualified A. L. relievers in Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), a stat designed to approximate ERA that attempts to control for luck.

Perkins has earned his reputation as one of the best relievers in the game.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: Ron Gardenhire, Glen Perkins
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