Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Status Quo in Seattle

August has been a very, very rough month for the Twins. In 12 games, they have scored more than three runs just once (averaging 2.5 runs per game), and they have won just three games during that span. In doing so, they have catastrophically failed to take advantage of the slides experienced by the Tigers (4-8 this month) and the Indians (5-7 this month).

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.

13 comments:

ubelmann said...

I can't even remember the last time the Twins held a lead in a game.

Yeah, I had trouble, too. They had the lead for 5.5 innings on Saturday, when things got out of hand for Neshek. That's the only time they've had the lead since thwamping the Royals on the 8th. 45 innings of baseball and 5.5 innings with a (very tenuous 1- to 2-run) lead. No wonder this team has been so depressing to watch right now.

beth said...

Well, it looks like Rameriz's ERA will be dropping tonight. It seems the worse a pitcher is, the worse the Twins look against him.

Sean Schulte said...

How come nobody is able to remember the good things? That game was really hard to watch, just like every other night, until we got that late rally to tie the game. (And take Johan off the hook for the loss.)

Then it stayed tied until the other team hit a walk off home run. I hated it, but at least it was exciting.

twayn said...

Seems like a good night to break out of this ridiculously prolonged slump.

So we all can wish. But odds are better that we'll end up watching the greatest pitching performance of Horacio Ramirez's career. At this point, I consider it a real accomplishment that the Twins have not given up a no-hitter this year.

Paul W said...

I am an avid fan, but Sunday found the tennis more exciting, and last night watching the national weather service was a better bet.

Assuming Detroit keeps on winning at about .550, Twins need to have a winning % of about.750 for the rest of the season to be in the playoffs. They better start getting their act together soon.

(OK, we all know they are toast for this year. Big question is who will show some leadership on the team as we start building for next year. No one even looks like they want to be baseball players.)

Tricia said...

I remember the good things. There have been quite a few this season. There just haven't been any good things lately. I like the Twins no matter what. It's just easy to dwell on the negative when things aren't going well.

Nick N. said...

Yeah, I had trouble, too. They had the lead for 5.5 innings on Saturday, when things got out of hand for Neshek. That's the only time they've had the lead since thwamping the Royals on the 8th. 45 innings of baseball and 5.5 innings with a (very tenuous 1- to 2-run) lead. No wonder this team has been so depressing to watch right now.

Thanks for the stat Ubes. Man, that's ugly.

So we all can wish. But odds are better that we'll end up watching the greatest pitching performance of Horacio Ramirez's career. At this point, I consider it a real accomplishment that the Twins have not given up a no-hitter this year.

No kidding -- it is a little surprising that they haven't.

I like the Twins no matter what. It's just easy to dwell on the negative when things aren't going well.

Don't get me wrong... I still watch the games and I still cheer for the Twins to win. It's just hard to say anything real positive about them right now when they couldn't win a basketball game refereed by Tim Donaghy.

Andersklasen said...

Times are so bad, I almost find myself rooting for the Twins to lose, just so there won't be any hope of them making post-season.

By the way, yesterday marked the annual 'changing of the bookmarks'. I removed almost every Twins bookmark I had and replaced them with Vikings bookmarks.

Ryan said...

You know times are bad when you expect to lose and don't expect to score more than 2 runs.

Nick N. said...

By the way, yesterday marked the annual 'changing of the bookmarks'. I removed almost every Twins bookmark I had and replaced them with Vikings bookmarks.

I don't think your luck will be any better there. There's a good chance the Vikings will average less points per game this season than the Twins have.

Andersklasen said...

Good gosh, never thought about that. Go Gophers!

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