Last night, the Twins once again got a decent pitching performance from their starter and great pitching from their bullpen, but largely lost the game because of their lack of hitting. Yes, Jesse Crain gave up four runs in the 12th inning to allow the Indians to win. But it was really the Twins offensive futility that stood out again, leading to another Twins loss.
Nine hits in 42 at-bats. That's not good, but it isn't horrible. What is horrible are these numbers: 140 and 236. One-hundred forty is the amount of pitches the Indians pitchers threw and 236 is how many the Twins pitchers threw. Twins pitchers threw nearly 100 more pitches. That tells you some pretty simple things about the failure of the Twins offense. Once again, they simply were not taking enough pitches at all.
If you watched any part of the game, the lack of patience was clear. The young Jeremy Sowers isn't a particularly great pitcher, but the Twins hitters flailed away for six innings before they finally got three runs in the bottom of the seventh on a Torii Hunter home run and an Alexi Casilla two-run double.
The one hitter whose struggles stood out was Justin Morneau. Morneau is homerless in his last 38 at-bats, though he is still slugging .507. However, last night, he was hitless in five at-bats. Morneau took a total of eight pitches in those at-bats and twice grounded into a double play. Of course, both Nick Punto and Mike Redmond also went 0-for-5, but at least they both took more than eight pitches.
What good news can be taken from the game? Joe Mauer continues to hit extremely well, going 2-for-4 to lift his average to .400, tying him with the incredible Alex Rodriguez. Torii Hunter went 2-for-5 with a home run and his league-leading 12th double, giving him a .621 slugging percentage. And both Casilla and Jason Bartlett had two hits, which is important since Bartlett had started off the season struggling and Casilla is taking over at second while Luis Castillo is out.
Today, the Twins face Fausto Carmona. Carmona struggled as the Cleveland closer last year and has not been very good so far this year. Unfortunately, its hard to know if that bides well for the Twins. They'll have to take a lot more pitches, try to work counts, and try to help their ace out in getting another win.