Thursday, June 07, 2007

Inconsistent Offense Continues

That title probably sounds bad, but I wanted to avoid any title that included the word "piranha" in it. Being that I'm utterly sick of that ridiculous trend, maybe I'll just call them the "little guys" or maybe the infielders-who-don't-have-a-lick-of-power. Either way, they made major offensive contributions in yesterday's win over the Angels, combining with Michael Cuddyer to lead the way.

Why inconsistent? For the simple reason that the Twins have become pretty set in a pattern over the last few weeks, as discussed by fellow blogger Nick Nelson in yesterday's post. For a few days or even a week, the Twins will score runs, and then follow it with what happened in the previous five games. For reference, before putting up eight runs in yesterday's victory, the Twins had gone 1-4 and scored a total of nine runs in those five games after scoring seven in a victory over the White Sox last Wednesday.

The biggest standouts in the Twins' victory yesterday had to be Nick Punto and Jason Bartlett. Both went 1-for-4 in the game and came into the game with slugging percentages below .300 (though Punto didn't raise his above .300 sadly) before they both hit significant home runs. Punto's home run was a three-run blast off of John Lackey in the fifth to give the Twins a 5-4 lead. It is impressive that Punto's first home run of the year came off of Lackey, as Lackey had given up only five home runs on the year coming into the game and a total of 32 since the beginning of the 2005 season.

As for Bartlett, his home run came in the ninth inning with the Twins clinging to a 6-5 lead, giving them a 7-5 advantage before Cuddyer added an RBI single, giving Joe Nathan a comfortable lead and allowing him to pick up his 13th save with relative ease. Speaking of Cuddyer, he also homered off of Lackey in the fourth inning to give the Twins their first runs of the game when they were down 4-0 and appeared to be headed towards a fifth straight ugly loss. In total, Cuddyer went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a walk on the day, raising his line to .298/.379/.478 after he had collected only three hits in his previous 19 at-bats.

Of course, lost in the offensive outpouring was Kevin Slowey's first major-league victory (despite a so-so performance) and another amazing bullpen performance, with four innings of no-hit work. Those were great things, but the Twins have gotten good pitching lately with no hitting to speak of. Good news for the Twins that they are back at the .500 mark and looking at a series against the pathetic Washington Nationals with Joe Mauer hopefully returning to the lineup Friday. Hopefully, thats enough to really get this offense on track.