Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Burden of Proof

Really, I take no pleasure in saying this or even alluding to it, but the points made by Ubelmann, Aaron Gleeman, and myself yesterday were only proven in yesterday's game. After scoring 32 runs in two games Friday, the Twins were absolutely dominated by Mark Buehrle. The seemingly paradoxical nature of the Twins offense can be beyond grating one day, like yesterday, and wonderful to watch the next.

What was the source of offensive ineptitude yesterday? Well, just to begin with, Ron Gardenhire decided to go against the White Sox's best pitcher (and one who has gone 18-10 with a 3.76 ERA against the Twins coming into the game) without Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel in the lineup. Those are two bats that went a combined 9-for-18 with one home run, four walks, and 12 RBI in the two games. Yes, Joe Mauer is 1-for-12 in his career versus Buehrle and Jeff Cirillo (who DHed) came into the game 3-for-8 versus Buerhle and Lew Ford is 14-for-42 (.333) against Buehrle. Thus, its somewhat defensible to give Ford the start over Kubel (even though Kubel is hitting .300 against lefties and Ford is hitting only .241), but such a small sample size is not enough to justify Cirillo over Mauer.

If anything, it would be far more defensible to have Cirillo start over Nick Punto, who is 6-for-19 against Buehrle, even though Punto is a far better defender but obviously a lesser hitter. I'm sure the logic behind it is that Mauer started both games of the double-header essentially, but unless he's hurt, I'm not sure why you don't let Mauer start at DH. With a hitter as good as Mauer, there shouldn't be concern over 12 mediocre at-bats against a pretty good pitcher.

As a result, the Twins offense didn't do very much. Mike Redmond and Luis Castillo each collected two hits with Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter, and Lew Ford picking up the other hits. However, with three double plays (from Cirillo, Punto, and Redmond), those hits were quickly erased. The Twins didn't manage a run until there was only one out left.

Its unfortunate, because starter Boof Bonser had a pretty good game, going a rare seven innings, allowing only four hits, three runs, and two walks while striking out four. Bonser was really only hurt by the two-run home run he gave up to Paul Konerko on a terrible fastball up over the plate, just where Konerko likes it according to Fox's "Hot Zone." Notably, it was the first time since May 18th against Milwaukee that Bonser has gone seven innings in a start and his first quality start since May 29th against the White Sox.

Things won't get better today, when the Twins face off against Javier Vazquez. Although Vazquez was not very good last year, he has been improved in 2007, going 5-5 with a 3.70 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP (6th in the AL), and 100 Ks in 107 innings (9th in the AL). More importantly, Vazquez has had two starts already this year against the Twins and he's been dominant in those 13 innings, allowing only five hits and one run while striking out 12, which is good for a 0.66 ERA. The only good news is that the Twins managed five walks against him. Lets just hope the "good" Carlos Silva shows up.

5 comments:

John said...

Nick, look up "irregardless" in the dictionary.

Nick M. said...

Yes I know what the word means. In all fairness, it wasn't exactly wrong so much as it made the sentence choppy. It meant that regardless of the previous discussion, the offense didn't do well. That is, Ford for Kubel might be an ok tradeoff, but the choice didn't really have much of an effect.

Anonymous said...

I don't actually think irregardless is a real word.

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