Friday, June 24, 2005

Hitting Still Isn't Alive

If the Twins could have gotten a few hits tonight, maybe they could have pulled out a victory. But the loss certainly can't be blamed on pitching this time, as the staff yielded three runs, one unearned. What has been a problem as of late continued, as bad fielding and the absence of offense created the loss for Brad Radke and the Twins. Radke is having a year quite similar to last year's, as he has pitched well (4.08 ERA, 9 walks in 101 and 2/3 innings) but has a 5-7 record. As usual, the Twins just cannot score runs for Radke. Now, the Twins are 10 and 1/2 games behind the blazing White Sox, who pounded the Cubs 12-2 in a day game.

The only offense the Twins were able to produce came from Torii Hunter's 12th home-run in the 8th off of Julio Santana. Otherwise, they scrapped together only six hits as they allowed other runs on poor defense. Two errors, from Glenn Williams and Juan Castro, helped the Brewers to a 2-0 lead along with Radke's uncharacteristic lack of control. Castro's error in the fifth helped start a Brewers rally for a second run.

The same old problems haunt the Twins game in and game out: They cannot hit decent pitching too well and they get pummeled by good pitching. The have lost any ability to hit with runners in scoring position. Tonight, they were a hideous 0 for 8, throwing the opportunities they had to score off of Brewers starter Chris Capuano that they simply threw away. They had the bases loaded in the seventh, but couldn't produce with Mauer at the plate. They had Castro on the third with one out in the fourth, but followed with consecutive groundouts to end their chances. It had been a pathetic example. Just look at how they lost to Darrell May, who was jumped all over by the Mariners in a 14-5 victory, barely getting a run off of him.

The core of the lineup, like Jacque Jones, has not been adequete. After a 13-game hitting streak, Jones has done absolutely nothing. Those blaming the young stars Mauer and Morneau should look elsewhere: They've been doing ok as of late, maintaning their averages and hitting better than most. Its the veterans, from Castro to Stewart to Jones to even Hunter, despite his homer, who have completely cooled off. More than a trade, the Twins need their biggest investments to step up and do what they've been given contracts for: That includes Santana (who has not been completely consistent or as dominant as he could be), Nathan (lots of saves, bad control, high ERA for a closer), Hunter, Mays, and a few others. Now is the time to step up and take control of this club's destiny. Come on guys.