Friday, April 24, 2009

Get a Whiff of This

Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel and Denard Span have done a pretty nice job of keeping the Twins lineup afloat lately, but as we saw Wednesday and have witnessed in the past, you need more. We were supposed to get more from a healthy Michael Cuddyer and Joe Crede, but they've been worse than the bottom-of-the-barrel replacements we inserted in 2008. And I'm not sure how much longer we can allow Alexi Casilla to slap grounders toward expectant fielders at the top of the order. Granted, some of our problems will be alleviated when Joe Mauer returns in seven days, eight hours, 15 minutes and 12 seconds, but overall plate discipline can't be expected to be "good" all of the sudden, right?

Consider that the Twins have five players with double-digit strikeouts, but only one of those has more than one homer. It's widely held that power hitters' strikeout totals are downgraded a bit because they generally make up for their whiffing ways with numerous bases-on-balls. The thing is, our "power hitters" (aside from Morneau/Kubel) aren't hitting home runs, and aren't making up for it by getting on base. Additionally, a decent on-base percentage stands at around .330, and only a few of our regulars have even eclipsed that mark so far. Check out some stats:
  • Joe Crede (.167 Average/.286 On-Base/.310 Slugging) - Crede has been pretty tragic at the plate, aside from the home run he hit down in Chicago a few weeks back. In 42 at-bats, he's already struck out 12 times, and if it weren't for his glove, he'd be sitting the bench in favor of Buscher (who has at least shown some semblance of patience). The good news? Crede is hitting .286 against left-handers so far this season, and he'll face lefty Aaron Laffey on Sunday. Also, his career numbers say he'll eventually hit right-handers with greater consistency. Hopefully sooner than later.
  • Michael Cuddyer (.207/.254/.310) - Seems like Cuddy couldn't hit a soft-toss marshmallow with a cubicle wall about now, and would be playing a lot less if Carlos Gomez still had a pulse. The Magician is striking out three times as much as he's walking (11:4 K/BB), and we can only hope he'll heat up once May comes around.
  • Delmon Young (.229/.289/.343) - The only good thing that I can draw from Delmon's slow start is that he already his a towering home run this season. If you remember, he didn't go yard until June 7 a year ago. I'm probably the least worried about Young though, because if there's one thing he's going to do, it's hit for average. Expect a string of two-hit games to boost his average back up to .270 or so. Maybe it'll be accompanied by a little power.
  • Alexi Casilla (.184/.231/.224) - Casilla is known for going through rough stretches at the dish, but going 2-for-27 over the past nine games simply is NOT going to get it done. I'm expecting Brendan Harris to get some at bats shortly - he's actually been swinging it pretty well so far this season and isn't a terrible fielder. The problem is that Gardy knows how poor our pitching is right now, and likely won't sacrifice defense for a mildly-hot bat.
I'd write about Carlos Gomez, but he isn't playing enough to stir up anger.

Anyway, we're playing the Cleveland Indians this weekend… one of only three teams whose pitching has been worse than ours so far (6.31 ERA/1.642 WHIP). Good news! No Cliff Lee this time around. Of course, Cleveland still has Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner (looks pretty solid so far) and Victor Martinez heading up the no. 3 offense in the league to date. With the way our arms have looked thus far, it could be a recipe for disaster.

Your weekend pitching match ups:

Fausto Carmona (1-2) vs. Nick Blackburn (0-1)
Carl Pavano (0-2) vs. Kevin Slowey (2-0)
Aaron Laffey (1-0) vs. Glen Perkins (1-1)

I wouldn't be surprised if the Twins win the series, but I'd be floored if we gave up less than 15 runs in these three games. Anyone else ticked off that Slowey has two wins and Perkins has a loss? Ugh.

Enjoy the weekend, and remember that I'll start writing more often in May. Thanks for reading!


Noni said...

Can you please address the incredibly important return of Joe Joe Mauer?

blaine_fridley said...

gomez needs to be optioned to the farm right now. he's a mess.

where are you baby jeebus? we need you now more than ever!

J-mizzle said...

Agreed on Gomez, except that Delmon and Cuddyer have been equally horrible. Not sure what to do with Gomez right now but hope he or cuddyer heat up and give us a reason to make a move.

As far as Joe Mauer - he's coming back May 1, a Friday.

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