Concern or Disaster?


Joe Mauer is on the DL with a mysterious knee related injury, although the team and management continue to promise that his knee is fine, it’s just that his body is weak from compensating for his weak legs because he was unable to fully prepare for the season on account of his off-season knee surgery.

Yoshi is on the DL with a broken leg suffered during an early season collision with the Yankees Nick Swisher (a play that happens game after game after game, generally with no lasting side effects).  The Twins surely caught a “break” with that one.

Justin Morneau missed his third consecutive game with flu-like symptoms, Drew Butera is leading the Twins offense in Baltimore with 3 RBI through the first two games and as a team the Twins continue to find ways to lose games.

Here are some facts that have me leaning away from concern and tilting towards disaster:

No Twins batter has yet to score double digit runs (Kubel leads the way with 7), hit more than 5 doubles (Kubel/Morneau), 7 XBH (Kubel), 2 HR (Kubel), walked more than 8 times (Valencia, next closest at 5) or plated more than 6 RBI (Valencia/Young). But what the Twins do have are three batters with more than 10 strike-outs, (and four more with 9).  There are, however a couple of bright spots for the team this year, they have yet to have been caught stealing, a perfect 7-0 and both Span and Kubel are currently batting over .300 on the season. As a Team the Twins are last in runs scored (50), HR (5), RBI (45), total bases (183), walks (40), OBP (.283), slugging (.315) and OPS (.598). What does all this mean?  Our offense is anemic.  We can’t put runners on base, and when we do manage to get someone on the base paths we are unable to move them around or bring them home.  Hello Offense, where are you? Come out and play!

No Twins pitcher has yet to notch 2 wins, and we have 5 pitchers who have ERAs over 5.00.  As a staff the Twins, compared to the rest of the AL, are last in strikeouts (94), 11th in ERA (4.71), second to last in Wins (6), and have the 2nd most HR (20), HBP (7) and are 12th in the league in blown saves (3, including 2 in one night!).  Only the Yankees and Tigers have a higher WHIP (1.40) and opponents are battling a scorching .335 off of the Twins’ staff while slugging .423. This is not good, especially coupled with the complete lack of offense detailed above.

Meanwhile the Twins, who have always played better than average defense, have already committed 10 errors (good enough for 6th most in the AL), have only managed to turn 16 double plays  and only managed to put out 447 in 629 total chances. We may have been built for speed and defense, but with all of the holes in our lineup we have been unable to showcase either.

And while the Twins faithful continue to cling to the notion that this is only a “small sample size” and that we will of course turn things around, I haven’t seen anything this year to suggest that the “slump” is coming to an end.  When both your offense and your pitching are both using the defense “small sample size” something bigger is going on than just a limited number of plate appearances.

Hopefully the Twins can find an edge, and turn things around before we dig ourselves any deeper.  Thankfully for us the teams at the top of the division Cleveland (12-5) and Kansas City (11-6) surely cannot maintain their dominance throughout the course of the season and both the Tigers (8-10) and White Sox (7-10) are within 2 games of our home town heroes.

Check back later in the week to see the second post from the Twins Twins in our The Twins Need an Edge series.  Span.I.Am has found his edge, can the rest of the club follow suit?

Tags: Denard Span Drew Butera Jason Kubel Joe Mauer Justin Morneau Tsuyoshi Nishioka