Minnesota Twins: Afterthoughts on Series Win in Chicago
Minnesota Twins: Afterthoughts. The thoughts and interesting stats from the previous games.
While the Minnesota Twins finally lost a game, the team did, however, win another series. Against a rebuilding Chicago White Sox, the Twins took two of three improving to a 5-1 record.
The Twins defense, not the pitching, propelled the team to the top of the AL Central standings.
Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, and Max Kepler all made spectacular catches in the first game of the series.
Here’s Buxton flashing the leather in game one of the series.
Buxton’s catches for the first out and last out of the first inning were fun to watch. Fans should applaud the effort made. Yet, realizing why Buxton needed to make those catches in the first place can’t be overlooked.
Phil Hughes served up two hard-hit balls over the middle of the plate. The hitters who nearly smashed two dead center doubles, Tyler Saladino and Cody Asche. Two hitters whose career slugging percentage are .377 and .383 respectively.
The Hughes situation is another topic that needs its own article. Back to the catches we go. Kepler’s diving grab was perfectly timed.
The outfield combination of Buxton, Kepler, and Rosario have combined for eight Rtot (Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Above Average). Rtot is how many runs above or below average a player is based on the number of plays made. Extrapolated to 135 games, the same trio of outfielders are on pace for 171 Rtot combined.
Needless to say, the outfield defense will continue to be a strong suit going forward.
Buxton’s Struggles at the Plate
Through the first series of the year, Buxton recorded seven strikeouts, just one walk, and only one hit. It didn’t get any better for him in the series against the White Sox.
Buxton managed to hit a double for his only hit in the series. He struck out another seven times and didn’t work out a walk.
Going back, again to the Royals series, Buxton seemed unsure of himself at the plate. This strikeout against Peter Moylan is a good example.
With two strikes, Buxton chases well out of the zone, something he’ll need to learn not do this season.
Part of his struggles appears to be to in his head. He looks like he’s guessing. From the pitch type to pitch location, Buxton looks to be guessing.
Experienced hitters have a strong understanding of how pitchers are going to try getting them out. Buxton doesn’t seem to have that yet.
Moving him down in the order will alleviate the absence of Buxton striking out in front of Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano. Yet it won’t fix his issues at the plate. Until he gains some confidence and starts stringing a few hits together, Buxton’s struggles offensively could last through this month.