Thursday, August 23, 2007

Early Explosion

After scoring a total of seven runs in their previous four games, the Twins' offense busted out for seven runs in the first inning of yesterday's series finale against the Mariners. They added another run in the second and wound up defeating Seattle 8-4 to salvage a game in the series. The Twins' noteworthy first inning was trumped several hours later when the Rangers had a nine-run inning and a 10-run inning in the same game against the Orioles, en route to a ridiculous 30-3 victory. In that game, the Rangers' 7-9 hitters went 13-for-19 with 16 RBI. Think about the effect a game like that would have had on our "Bottom of the Barrel" meter!

Of course, as you've probably noticed, the Bottom of the Barrel feature has disappeared from our sidebar. I kind of figured it was pointless to track the ineptitude of one-third of the lineup when the entire team was hitting so poorly. While I don't recall completely, I'm pretty sure that the Twins' 7-9 hitters hadn't racked up a total of 16 RBI in the 20-some games I was tracking their performance on the sidebar.

Anyway, yesterday's victory pushed the Twins back up to .500, where they've been hanging for most of the season. The team's record has never been more than six games above .500, and never more than two games below. All season long, it has seemed like every winning streak has been countered by a similarly long losing streak, and vice versa. In short, the Twins are a pretty mediocre team.

Michael Cuddyer's grand slam was the highlight of yesterday's victory, but it was also nice to see Alexi Casilla pick up his first major-league triple. Jason Kubel had a three-hit day and seems to have shaken off the effects of a strained oblique. Tommy Watkins went 2-for-5 to raise his average to .357; I'm happy to see him experiencing some unexpected success here in his big-league debut. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Nick Punto went 0-for-2 and saw his batting average drop below the Mendoza line to .199. Since July 27, Punto has batted .090/.196/.109. Holy cow. There's really no defense for Punto's continued presence in the lineup. Even if he was Ozzie Smith with the glove, he'd still be hurting the team overall with his putrid hitting.

After going 3-3 on their home stand, the Twins now get to head to Baltimore for a four-game series against the same Orioles team that gave up 30 runs to Texas yesterday. Can the mighty Twins repeat -- or perhaps even surpass -- the Rangers' amazing feat? I'm going to be cautiously optimistic and say yes.