The Twins lost last night's series opener against the Mariners when Richie Sexson ripped a solo homer off of Matt Guerrier to start the bottom of the ninth inning. It was frustrating, especially since Sexson has been one of the worst hitters in baseball this year, but what more can I say about this game that wouldn't sound like a broken record? It's an equation we've seen all too often since the All-Star break: good pitching + no offense = loss. If you want an idea of how bad the Twins' offense has been since the break, take a look at this quote from Ubelmann prior to last night's game:
A lot of the Twins’ offensive suckitude this season has come in the second half of the season, where the Twins have “hit” .253/.308/.377 as a team. For comparison, Luis Rivas, in his career, has hit .262/.307/.383. Perhaps that best describes what it’s been like to watch this team’s offense since the All-Star break–it’s like watching Luis Rivas hit over and over and over again. Sure, maybe he’ll have a good night in KC, but mainly he’s a waste of time.I don't know if there's a more damning statement possible.
No one has been hitting lately. Justin Morneau has been absolutely awful in August, collecting just seven hits in 47 at-bats for a .149 average with no RBI. He has drawn one unintentional walk in his last 27 games, and has not homered since July 23. Michael Cuddyer is hitting .159 this month, with 11 strikeouts and no walks. After going 0-for-4 last night, Rondell White is batting .149/.216/.170 on the season. Nick Punto has collected a total of 14 hits in 28 games since the All-Star break, yet continues to find his name in the lineup on a semi-regular basis.
The run support for the Twins' starting pitchers has been brutal. Johan Santana, who did his part last night by delivering seven innings of three-run ball, is 12-9 with a 3.03 ERA. Meanwhile, Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays is 13-5 with a 4.17 ERA. Tim Wakefield has 13 wins and a 4.81 ERA. Santana has collected just one win in the past month, despite delivering five Quality Starts during that span. And then there is Boof Bonser, who hasn't picked up a W since June 10. Carlos Silva has racked up 13 Quality Starts this year, but holds a 9-12 record. He ranks 25th in the American League in ERA, but only one pitcher (Jose Contreras, with a 6.24 ERA) has lost more games.
The Twins are playing really, really bad baseball right now -- to the point that it's actually pretty hard to watch. I'm really hoping this team can find a way to turn things around and start putting some runs on the board, if only to give the fans something to cheer about once again. I can't even remember the last time the Twins held a lead in a game.
Tonight, it will be the young stud Matt Garza going against Horacio Ramirez, who is one of the worst starting pitchers you will find in this league right now. Ramirez has a 7.12 ERA and opponents are hitting .337/.403/.507 against him. Seems like a good night to break out of this ridiculously prolonged slump.