Sunday, August 13, 2006

Another Dome Dud

Things are not pretty right now. After an excellent 6-1 road trip, the Twins have returned home and scored just one run over three games against the Blue Jays, who have not exactly been throwing top-of-the-line pitchers at them. During those 27 innings, the Twins have collected a total of just 18 hits and drawn a total of just five walks while striking out 19 times. They have gone 1-or-16 in scoring opportunities. In watching their at-bats over these games, it seems that the new-found plate discipline many Twins' hitters had seemingly discovered this season has disappeared. Last night, the Twins hit into six double-plays, and the saddest part about that is that it's the second time they've done it this year.

At this point, this offense is downright terrible, and there are a number of culprits. For one thing, Michael Cuddyer continues to show that he is not the answer in the cleanup spot with his absolutely wretched at-bats. I don't mean to be too hard on Cuddy, as his numbers are good and he has come up big in numerous situations for the Twins this year, but it seems like pitchers are adjusting to his guessing ways at the plate. Yesterday, Cuddyer took some of the ugliest swings you will see. He has struck out at least once in eight of his last nine games, and he had multiple K's in four of those games.

And then there's Justin Morneau. After having the most memorable night of his pro career on Wednesday night, Morneau is having a pretty forgettable series against the Blue Jays. Justin has gone 1-for-11 in this series with no RBI and no walks. Joe Mauer is also 1-for-11 in the series, and last night he grounded into his 17th double play of the year. Mauer is tied for fourth in the AL in GIDP (although the guys ahead of him are Miguel Tejada, Michael Young and Victor Martinez so it's not exactly bad company).

On Thursday and Friday the starting pitching was not good (although the bullpen continues to be exceptional), but yesterday the Twins wasted a solid start from Boof Bonser, who went 5 and 2/3 innings while allowing just three earned runs. Bonser struck out five and walked none, and pitched quite well aside from a bad pitch to Reed Johnson that ended up in the seats for a two-run homer.

Meanwhile, the White Sox won again, extending their Wild Card lead to 2 and a half games. I'm not panicking at this point, but I think that the putrid performance of the Twins' hitter in this series gives cause for concern. It is especially disappointing because they have been putting up these dud performances in front of some sizable home crowds.

The Twins need to get their top hitters like Mauer, Morneau and Cuddyer back on track and they need to score some runs. Winning today with Brad Radke on the hill and salvaging one victory from this ugly series will be very important.

5 comments:

TheBentKangaroo said...

Why do you think Mauer hits into so many double plays? He's not exactly slow. Is it because he doesn't strike out much? Or do you think this won't become a career pattern.

Nick M. said...

Simple. Joe's stroke is prone to groundballs. Its not that his is slow, its just the he hits an awful lot of groundballs at the shortstop, which leads to doubleplays. I don't know that it becomes a career problem, since as he gains more power, he'll likely be more of a linedrive hitter and that should reduce his GIDP numbers.

BD said...

When Mauer hits a ground ball, it almost always seems to be somewhere in the area between where the shortstop & 2nd baseman play at double play depth.

I don't know that I'd say his stroke is "groundball" prone, just that he's not a "big fly" swinger.

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