After stealing Sunday’s game in Baltimore, the Twins’ record stands at 63-61. Probably not what you had hoped when they ended May an improbable 30-19, but a lot better than you expected after four consecutive 90+ loss seasons and a 1-6 start to the 2015 campaign.
If the Twins are able maintain a winning record and remain in the AL Wild Card race, their bullpen will need to continue the success they found this weekend in Baltimore. One reason for hope is Kevin Jepsen.
Since his trade from Tampa on July 31, Jepsen has posted a 1.86 ERA and picked up 2 saves for the Twins in 11 appearances. The 31-year-old reliever brings valuable pennant race experience, spending the first seven seasons of his career with perennial contender Anaheim.
I talked with Jepsen during the last homestand and learned more about the new Twin.
DZ: You’ve been here about two weeks now, what’s your impression of the team so far…?
JEPSEN: Great team. The clubhouse is awesome, the guys are great. A couple of weeks in now, I am starting to feel…all the newness is starting to wear off.
DZ: Have been traded during the season before?
JEPSEN: This is the first time during the season.
DZ: What is that like from a personal perspective?
JEPSEN: It’s crazy. You have all of your stuff set up, you have a place in one city with one team and then…I got traded on the road with one suitcase. Trying to get your house packed up back in Tampa – the car shipped out. A lot of moving parts and it’s crazy being in a uniform one day and the very next day you are in a different one. It’s definitely a whirlwind.
DZ: Where were you when you found out about the trade?
JEPSEN: Boston…I was at the hotel just getting ready to leave to head to the field and found out I got traded. I went to the field, packed up all my stuff and said bye to all the guys.
DZ: I guess you knew (Ervin Santana) and Torii Hunter from playing in Anaheim. Did you talk them at all before you got here?
JEPSEN: No, when I got here. It was nice to see some familiar faces.
DZ: I read that you won a bronze medal (at the Beijing Olympics) in ‘08.…where is your bronze medal right now?
JEPSEN: It’s at home in a case,
DZ: OK, I am not going to try to steal it.
DZ: On a more serious note, I read that back when (Angels pitcher) Nick Adenhart had his tragic death*, you had been tasked with hanging up his jersey in the Angels dugout. Were you pretty close with him?
*Adenhart and two friends were killed on April 9, 2009 when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by a drunk driver. He had made his first major league start earlier that day.
JEPSEN: Yeah, we came up through the minor leagues playing together and stuff like that. I spent a lot of time with him. So it was tough.
DZ: Did that change your perspective?
JEPSEN: Anytime someone close to you passes away before their time it definitely makes you put things into perspective – enjoy everything you have and are blessed to have. It kind of makes you take everyday as ultimately it could be your last. It sounds kind of corny, but it really does put that into perspective for you.