Monday, May 19, 2008

A Downer in Denver

After rattling off five straight wins at home against the White Sox and Tigers a couple weeks ago, the Twins went to Chicago and lost a series against the White Sox. They then came back home and took three of four from the Red Sox before being swept out of Minnesota by the Blue Jays. In the wake of that painful series, the Twins headed to Colorado where they dropped two of three in a series that concluded yesterday with a 6-2 loss in which they committed numerous mental mistakes and repeatedly stranded runners in scoring position.

Mediocre teams tend to have a lot of ups and downs, and I think at this point we can fairly say that the Twins are a mediocre team. They have enough talent to win if they're getting timely hitting and displaying solid fundamentals, but as we've seen during the past two series, they simply won't win if those things are lacking.

It would seem that a positive to come out of this series would be a power surge from Delmon Young, but it certainly strikes me as an instance where the stats can be misleading. Young went 7-for-12 with three doubles and a triple in the series, raising his batting average by 24 points and his slugging percentage by 48 points. Yet, while it's good to see Young getting hits, the extra-base hits were hardly a convincing display of increased power. His two doubles on Friday night were both hard-hit grounders down the line, as was his triple in yesterday's game. The double yesterday came on a bloop to right that just fell fair, and Young barely made it into second safely (in fact, it appeared that he was thrown out). So while Young's four extra-base hits in this series did match his season total prior, I'm not going to start getting truly excited until he begins lifting the ball up and hitting some line drives.

The Twins could really use a legitimate power increase from Young, because as it stands, this lineup is devoid of solid right-handed sticks. Michael Cuddyer is quietly having an awful season (.240/.296/.340 with 1 HR), Craig Monroe has one hit in his last 16 at-bats, and as much as it seems like Brendan Harris has provided an offensive upgrade at second base, his 668 OPS is not all that much better than the 640 OPS they got from the position last season.

Today the Twins open a four-game set against a hot Rangers team at the Metrodome. They'll need to get the sticks going in order to win this series.

4 comments:

Brent said...

Really???? We have been begging fro extra base hits from this guy, he gets four in one weekend, and we are going to complain becasue they weren't hit in the air??? For fairness sake, you could have thrown in a caveat about the ball that he absolutely crushed in Saturday's game that got eaten up by cavernous Coors and the fleet footed Taveras.

Nick N. said...

If he keeps turning ground balls into extra-base hits consistently, feel free to have at me. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's not sustainable. He needs to start hitting some line drives on a regular basis.

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