After a really hot start, the Minnesota Twins have cooled off quite a bit. The Twins sit at 7-6 and 2nd place in the AL Central.
The Minnesota Twins started the regular season off with a bang, sweeping the Kansas City Royals then proceeding to a 5-1 record. Since then, the Twins have been 2-5 and need to make some improvements to become a playoff team.
Obviously, the MLB season is a very long one. With 162 total games, each MLB team must find consistency and a strong will to win before becoming a legitimate playoff contender. Looking at the Minnesota Twins, their roster boasts quite a bit of talent, but now searches for consistency to find continued success.
A lot of pieces have to click for a baseball team to be successful for a full season. From pitching to fielding to hitting, we’ll take a look at what the Twins need to improve on to become a legitimate playoff team.
Consistency at the Plate
With a 9 person lineup, a baseball team must have some sort of success from the top of the lineup to the bottom to keep track with the opposing team. The Minnesota Twins need to find more consistency from their hitters to put enough runs on the board to produce wins.
The Twins only have two batters hitting above .300 – Robbie Grossman and Chris Gimenez.
The Twins only have two batters hitting above .300 – Robbie Grossman and Chris Gimenez. Grossman has been a tremendous acquisition to the team, but Gimenez’s success may be attributed to the fact that he only has 13 at-bats to account for.
The bulk of the Twins’ roster sits in the .200’s, with the exception of 4 batters that are hitting even below that. The Twins also only have 10 home-runs through 13 games and are leaving runners stranded in scoring position way too often.
If Minnesota wants to find success going forward, those batters that are hitting below .200 must step up with quality at-bats. Not only that, but they must also come through with RBI’s when runners are in scoring position. The Twins have seen too many opportunities squandered with poor at-bats.
Pitchers Need to Perform Better in the Middle Part of the Game
The Minnesota Twins have every reason to boast about their starting pitching rotation thus far. With a combined ERA of 3.34, the starting rotation gives the Twins a great chance of winning each game.
Even so, the Twins have found themselves struggling in the middle third of each game. While holding the opponent to zero or one run in the first 3 innings has been no issue, maintaining that success has brought Minnesota a lot of struggles.
Whether it be the starters or the bullpen, the middle third of the game may be the most important for pitchers. The Twins need to find a way to successfully transition from the starters to the bullpen while maintaining a lead and not allowing multiple-run innings during the middle third of the game.
Putting the Bat on the Ball
It’s no secret that Byron Buxton cannot hit the baseball. Or at least, he hasn’t been able to thus far. But the Minnesota Twins, as a whole, need to cut down on strikeouts. Putting the ball in play is pivotal to getting runners on base, obviously, and the Twins have struck out way too often disallowing them the opportunity to score runs.
Though the Twins sit at 15th in the MLB in strikeouts at 106 total, it’s the timing of said strikeouts that has killed Minnesota. Obviously, a strikeout with the bases empty isn’t as bad as when runners are on or even worse, in scoring position.
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With runners on base, the Twins have the 3rd most strikeouts in the MLB with 52. With runners in scoring position, the Twins have the 5th most strikeouts with 30. With runners on and two outs, the Twins have the most strikeouts in the MLB with 27.
These stats paint the picture of why the Twins are at or around the top of almost every statistical category, but sit at 7-6. When the ball is put in play, you never know what could happen, but a strikeout is an automatic out. When the Twins need a hit the most, their batters are coming up empty with strikeouts.
In conclusion, there is plenty of work that needs to be done for the Minnesota Twins to be a legitimate playoff contender. While that is true, everything listed can be an easy fix. If these issues get resolved, the Twins have a great shot at making a playoff run this year.