Alright, now that I’ve gotten over yet another horrific loss to the
Pale Hose White Sox, I can more objectively assess the team’s performance up to this point. Yeah, the Twins are now 3-4 and neither the pitching nor the offense have been terribly impressive so far. However, there are some encouraging signs that the Twins will turn things around:
- When the offense is productive, it’s been really productive:
The Twins have scored a total of 26 runs in their past seven games, which certainly isn’t bad. Unfortunately, the offense has also been producing runs rather inconsistently. In the three wins so far this season, the hitters have driven in a combined 24 runs. In the four losses, however, the team has only scored two runs and has been shut out twice. That’s right. The offense has been completely shut out twice already this season. That is certainly something to be concerned about. However, I do think that the offense will start to produce more consistently when Joe Mauer returns to the lineup. Actually, that they’ve been able to score this many runs without him is a very good sign.
- The pitching isn’t quite as bad as it looks, either:
The pitching staff has a 5.16 ERA and a WHIP of 1.31. Which is obviously not good. However, I think the starting pitching will get better. The entire pitching staff seems to be suffering from a bout of wildness, which is unusual for this particular group (last year they gave up a league-best 54 walks, so control isn’t generally an issue). The pitching staff has given up 19 walks so far this year, compared to the mere 37 strikeouts they have recorded. And really, nearly half of these walks came from the series in Chicago, when Francisco Liriano struggled to find the plate in the fifth (and walked four batters) and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey also walked four during his start on Friday. Most encouraging, however, is that the starters have looked really good when their stuff is on, and that most of the damage has been limited to a few bad innings.
I am a little concerned that the bullpen is struggling to pitch scoreless innings, though. So far they have only had one save opportunity, Wednesday night against Seattle, and they managed to not screw it up. However, in every single one of the Twins’ losses this year, and even in their blowout victory against the White Sox on Friday, the bullpen has given up at least one run and sometimes more. While it didn’t matter much in games like the one in Chicago on Saturday, when the Twins were down by five runs and couldn’t solve Bartolo Colon, it does matter in close games. It’s one thing to be down by a pair of runs in the later innings, but quite another to be down by four or five. Especially for an offense that has been struggling to produce consistently.
- Joe Mauer and Scott Baker should be back really soon:
Scott Baker will be back as early as Wednesday. Joe Mauer is trying to return to the lineup by the end of the month. Can’t hardly wait: