Monday, September 04, 2006

Twins Baked

Going into this last weekend, the general concensus on this site was that things might not go so well for the Twins. Having Carlos Silva, Scott Baker, and Matt Garza start meant a lot of inexperience, some awful pitching, and some frustration was in store.

Considering the Yankees were playing well coming in and that Johan Santana, or for that matter Brad Radke or Francisco Liriano, weren't starting, taking one out of three games realistically isn't terrible. That isn't what was perplexing about the weekend. The problem was that the Twins played so terrible in their two losses, it brought up some interesting questions.

If the Twins do go to the playoffs, it will be as the Wild Card and they'll have to play the Yankees. It's not entirely clear that the Twins would get beat the way they did this weekend, but the point is simple: Even with Johan starting and likely winning a game, they realistically will probably only win one other game, if that.

What we saw this weekend was a struggling lineup that couldn't do very much at all. Beyond Justin Morneau, who went 5 for 11 with a home run and four RBI in the series, the Twins couldn't get very much at all. That argument may helped proved what an MVP Morneau truly is, but the rest of the lineup was awful during the weekend.

Joe Mauer has struggled so much lately that his slugging percentage is now only at .500. That sounds pretty good, but considering his statistical heights this year, its a significant drop. Mauer had only one hit in nine at-bats this weekend. The top of the order has been terrible as well. Yesterday, Nick Punto and Luis Rodriguez went 0 for 8 yesterday at the top of the order.

Needless to say, when it breaks down, the Twins have a lot of young, light-hitting guys who have to be hitting over .300 to be offensively productive players. Beyond Morneau and Cuddyer, the Twins don't have much for power. I don't really count Torii Hunter into the equation because he's so streaky, its hard to know what kind of factor he'll be in a playoff series. (And for that matter, his defense was very subpar all weekend and gave us further proof that he may not be the same center fielder he was before)

The Twins will have one big test this week. They have a three-game series starting today in Tampa Bay before a four-game series in Detroit. Hopefully they won't have the same issues they had against Kansas City's terrible staff, because they can't count on the White Sox continuing to loss as a means of staying in the race.