"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Friday, April 07, 2006

Paint By Numbers

Well, that's one series in the books, and it didn't go the Twins' way. My "Lost" and "CSI" addictions caused me to miss large chunks of the last two games (I know, I know...and I actually went and got a DVR last night, ok? Not that the game was televised yesterday...), but it seemed to me the hitting was okay by Twins standards--this isn't saying much--and it was the pitching that really tipped the balance against the Twins. Of course, early in the season you expect the hitters to be a little ahead of the pitchers, so this isn't cause for panic.

Let's eyeball some numbers for reference and maybe a few chuckles.

Over the series, the Twins hit a combined .269/.304/.768. I notice that's the second-lowest OBP in the AL thus far (the Royals have racked up a whole .172 in two games. Yikes!!). So, the boys weren't getting on base well. What else is new? They did, however, manage five homers, five doubles and three stolen bases. They took six walks in 114 plate appearances, and didn't hit a lot either. They scored 19 runs, 13 of which happened in one game. Over the other two games, the Twins hit .190. They also continued the long Minnesota tradition of grounding into double plays whenever humanly possible.

Here's something that I've never looked at before, and I'm not sure why: pitches faced.

The Twins saw, on average, 3.5 pitches per plate appearance. The Detroit Tigers have been ever-so-slightly more impatient, at 3.49, but everyone else has made opposing pitchers work harder. It's far too soon to apply this stat to individual batters (no one on the team has reached even 20 at-bats yet), but I'm going to keep this in mind down the road. It will be interesting to see who's really impatient and who only gives that impression, don't you think?

On to the pitching. The Twins ERA over the series was 5.40. Ouch. Curiously, the Blue Jays staggered away with a 5.67 and won the series. Looks like that 13-run game skewed things on the pitching side, too.

The Twins staff gave up 34 hits, four over the fence, and 15 earned runs. Starters Santana, Radke and Silva were roughed up for a collective 23 hits and 13 earned runs. The bullpen on the other hand did very well, giving up only two runs, both on a homer allowed by Crain. They logged only 14 strikeouts but gave up only four walks--two by Silva, which is frankly astounding. The man gave out nine free passes last year. NINE. It was a major league record. Look it up--it's true!

So. My initial impressions were, um...wrong. Not terribly wrong, for indeed the pitching was not so great. But the hitting kind of sucked, overall. There was the one good game (we had some of those last year, too) bookended by a lot of awkward flailing and some stranded runners for spice.

So, you know...one series. Meh. You win some, you lose some. I'm not worried about the pitching; these guys are going to be just fine. Better than fine. But personally, I'm still waiting for some evidence to back up the organization's claim that the offense has been improved since last season.

0 rejoinders: