Monday, April 19, 2010

The Hits Just Keep on (Not) Coming

With a talented but erratic pitcher on the mound for the Royals yesterday, the Twins lineup did just about everything that could be asked of them. Everything, that is, except for deliver even one big hit.

With Luke Hochevar getting the nod for Kansas City, the Twins consistently took quality at-bats, forcing the young right-hander to throw 104 pitches (just 53 of them strikes) while issuing five walks and littering the bases with runners. The problem was that the Twins just couldn't come up with the big hits to drive those runners in. That problem persisted when Hochevar gave way to the weak Kansas City bullpen, as the Twins continued to turn in lengthy plate appearances and draw walks but still could not get the big hit that might have pulled them back into the game after Carl Pavano's ugly start.

A lack of timely hitting has sadly been a theme for these Twins thus far rather than an isolated issue in yesterday's loss. Their .367 team on-base percentage ranks third in the American League, and yet the Twins have failed to take advantage of their copious opportunities by hitting just .248 with runners in scoring position, including an ugly 3-for-19 mark with the bases loaded. They've also hit into 14 double plays, ranking them second behind the White Sox. That the Twins have managed to score more runs than any AL club other than the Yankees while posting a 9-4 record in spite of these problems is encouraging, but at some point the marquee hitters are going to have to step up and start delivering.

This lineup is packed with talent and there's no way these guys will keep coming up short so frequently in scoring opportunities throughout the season. I'm very confident in that. With that being said, it's tough to remain patient when seeing them leave so many runners on the bases day in and day out, particularly at home against pitchers like Hochevar and the Kansas City relief corps. The Twins have got to start better punishing opposing pitchers for their mistakes. Yesterday, they screwed up royally in that department.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nick,

When will Target Field get to host the All-Star Game? Does MLB have a deal with teams that make a new stadium, they get an All-Star Game within the first few years, like NFL teams get a Super Bowl if they build a new stadium?

Nick N. said...

I know the Twins have been lobbying to bring an All Star game in Minnesota, but the locations are all set for the next several years. It'd be 2014 at the soonest, I think.

Anonymous said...

First time reader of your blog. Thanks for the important stats regarding RISP. Puts a deeper spin on the analysis. That was a frustrating game to watch.
BTW, FYI, it's marquee, not marquis.
Like the blog a lot.
Tony L

Nick N. said...

Oops, you're right. Looks like I had Jason Marquis on the mind (first time I've ever said that, I think).

Thanks for the kind words.

SoCalTwinsfan said...

The Twins didn't have much luck yesterday when putting the ball in play. Delmon hit a ball in the gap with two on in the first that I thought for sure was a double and possibly a home run, but the wind appeared to knock it down for a rather routine out. Kubel lined into a double play later in the game. Hardy and Mauer both lined out hard to the center fielder to lead off innings. It just wasn't their day. The Twins lead the league in walks and have big-time power up and down their lineup. They are going to put up monster offensive numbers this year. Don't forget, they still scored five runs, which should be enough to beat the Royals or most any other team on most days.

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