Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Offense Woes Continue

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.

9 comments:

Kris said...

Cuddyer and Morneau had a combined 6 base runners on when they came to the plate last night and they went 1 for 10. The one hit (by Cuddyer) was immediately wiped out with a double play from Morneau.

The offense relies heavily on these guys. If they can't get the job done, then the Twins simply don't score.

Corey Ettinger said...

Twins not named Mauer have hit .146 over the last two games.

Nick M. said...

Yeah Kris that sounds about right. I think its clear that Morneau, as well as Cuddyer, have to be consistent. I'm more disappointed with Morneau's recent play, as Cuddyer is still hitting better with more RBI.

Anonymous said...

It's one game people. I was there for all 12 in my normal seat in section 207 and it was pretty disappointing but let's not go too Yankee-fans-on-ARod on our boys. They'll rebound.

Nick M. said...

I would like to think so too, but I didn't just point out a single problem from a game but a problem we have seen frequently. Our hitters aren't taking nearly enough pitches. That lack of patience will kill them against the good competition they are going to come up against over the next week.

mike said...

One trend I have noticed this year that has shocked me is how many pitches torii has been taking. Has anyone else noticed that he has been watching way more pitches than he ever did last year? I think it's great, and a big reason why he's been able to come up with some big hits. When will bartlett hit in the 2 hole and punto move to 9?

Nick M. said...

True, Torii has been taking some more pitches lately. In fact, he saw 22 pitches in 5 at-bats last night. However, he has only walked twice this year and hasn't walked in 12 games.

This isn't terrible unusual, as in his great post-All Star break play last year he walked only seven times in 243 at-bats. But I don't know how long he can keep it up. Torri needs to talk some walks too but I'll grant him that its good that he's at least taking a few pitches before swinging away.

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