Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Constant Struggle

3-2. Another loss for the Twins. Another pathetic offensive showing. I feel absolutely terrible for the Twins starting pitchers, as this miserable offense has simply hung them out to dry lately. Carlos Silva pitched brilliantly for his second consecutive start tonight, following his recent 74-pitch gem against the Blue Jays last weekend with 8 strong innings tonight allowing no earned runs. Unfortunately, that somehow wasn't enough. Lew Ford, hitting in the 3-spot for the second day in a row, went 0/5 and left four runners on, and Justin Morneau went 0/3. Nick Punto struck out twice (a troubling trend for him lately). The game was lost when JC Romero allowed yet another inherited runner to score in the 10th inning. I think Romero might be the worst pitcher of all time to have an ERA under 1 after pitching a significant number of innings.

Torii Hunter had a couple more hits today, including a home run that represented half the team's offense. This is the second day Hunter has been solid, and yet all of his production has come with the bases empty. This further proves my point that Torii is not a good situational hitter and needs to be removed from the five-hole.

I was listening to the PA & Dubay Show on KFAN this morning, and they had Star Tribune Twins beat writer LaVelle E. Neal III on. I like LaVelle quite a bit, but he was debating Dubay on a particular topic and I found myself siding with Dubay. The issue was whether or not Hunter would be well-suited for the number three spot in the lineup, and Neal felt that Torii is simply not a prototype 3-hitter (like Ford is??) and is more suited for the five-spot. Mr. Dubay made the argument that Hunter's main problem is that he swings at bad pitches, and he would see better pitches if he were sandwiched between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the lineup. I believe he is absolutely right.

Clearly, the Twins cannot produce enough runs to win ballgames with their current lineup. Their pitchers have been very hot lately, with Kyle Lohse and Joe Mays both putting in a couple solid starts and Silva's ERA now dropping to an outstanding 2.85, and this has allowed the Twins to play above-.500 ball. I'm afraid that pitching will not keep up forever, it puts way too much pressure on the starting pitchers when the offense is only providing 2 or 3 runs a game. For that reason, it is imperative that Gardy shake things up and make some major changes to the batting order. I feel that the following order would make the most sense:

1. Stewart
2. Mauer
3. Hunter
4. Morneau
5. Cuddyer
6. Ford
7. Jones
8. Punto
9. Castro

This batting order spreads the good hitters throughout the lineup, provides good lefty-righty variety, and puts the guys who are able to drive in runs behind the guys who are able to set the table. I also wouldn't mind seeing Mauer hitting fifth since I think he is the best player on the team at driving in runs but they seem intent on keeping him in the two and three spots so I guess it's not a realistic thought.

In any case, the Twins coaching staff needs to do something because this team cannot continue to hit like this or they will be passed by the Indians pretty soon.