Well the baseball season is a month old and it is time to take a moment and start evaluating. As the title says the Twins are in a better position than they were this time last year. Last year on May 2nd, they were 6-18 and the desperation in the fans was already apparent. This May, Minnesota is 12-12 and the fans see like they are still willing to put up a fight for their team. Statistically though the Twins are still in some pretty rough shape.
First I am going to point out some issues at the plate. The Twins are doing well getting runners on base (OBP is 15th) but runs are in the lowest 20% as well as AVG and SLG. Thankfully the guys aren’t striking out nearly as much as they were earlier in the season. They are seeing more pitches and starting to rack up walks. They are also doing very well at staying out of double plays. It is just that I think they are pressing a little too much when those runners are at 2nd or 3rd. One more thing that I would like to see more of is stolen bases. We only have 16 attempts in the 24 games so far. The Twins have always been known as great base runners and use it to put extra pressure on the opposing teams. I just haven’t seen it so far.
Pitching is another issue entirely. As I said at the beginning of the year, the bullpen is doing well and should continue to do so unless the starters cause them to get overworked throughout the season. If Im Terry Ryan and I start to see the bullpen falter, I send a hitter back to AAA and recall another pitcher to help. Our starters so far have been the biggest problem of the season (stop me if I sound like a broken record). With that said, the overall ERA for April 2012 and 2013 is down 1.5 runs/game. Worley and Pelfrey are both over 7 in ERA and not even averaging 5 IP per start. That hurts when your starter is leaving the game in the middle of the 5th inning having given up 4 or 5 runs. It is difficult for the offense to keep up with that. Compounding the problem is that we really only have 4 starters right now and Diamond is still trying to work his way back from his offseason surgery. Pedro Hernandez has done pretty well for a pitcher who wasn’t really expected to contribute much as a starter. For long term success this season, the starters need to pick it up because there is little proof to make us think that Correia is going to continue with an ERA under 3 all season.
We just finished a 3 game series against Detroit and are 3-3 against them so far this season. We go to Cleveland to play 3 there and then 4 more in Boston after. We need 2 from the Indians because the Red Sox are playing lights out right now and will be difficult. Overall, in division, the Twins are 5-6 and we can’t expect to compete in the Central with a losing record against divisional foes. Also if the starting pitching doesn’t right its self by the end of the year, someone needs to be held accountable for it. That is our biggest weakness and has been for years now. Gardenhire and more importantly Anderson need to reevaluated if that is the best that the fans can expect out of their starters. It is going to be impossible to improve our record if the guys are always playing catch up because the starters can’t keep them in games.