ALDS Coverage: Twins Offense in Game 1

Unfortunately for the Twins yesterday’s game went just about how everyone expected it to. They took a half-inning lead in the top of the third, but gave the runs back in the bottom half. The Yankees added more runs in the next two innings, the Twins couldn’t muster any more, and there was little drama after that.

The game displayed of the offensive limitation of the Justin Morneau-less Twins. Look at the lineup with 2009 wOBA:

Denard Span     0.359
Orlando Cabrera 0.310
Joe Mauer       0.438
Michael Cuddyer 0.370
Jason Kubel     0.383
Delmon Young    0.312
Brendan Harris  0.295
Matt Tolbert    0.278
Nick Punto      0.295

Five players not only below average, but all fairly far below it and three players below 0.300. Even with Joe Mauer this is not a playoff caliber offense. As a group they don’t strike out much and have a fairly high BABIP, so they can get hits. And actually out hit the Yankees last night, 10 to 9. The problem is only two of those were extra base hits (both doubles) and they only drew one walk. For an offense like this to score runs they have to get lucky stringing their singles together in one inning.

Further exacerbating the problem, as I talked about yesterday is that Kubel, Mauer and Span are all lefties. Span and Mauer do not have that bad platoon splits, but Kubel’s is extreme. Versus lefties he joins the list of below-average hitters. Against CC Sabathia he looked very over matched, striking out twice and popping out to foul territory.

The Twins get a needed day off to rest a bullpen that got a lot of work in the past two days and calm down after some high pressure days. Tomorrow they face AJ Burnett, the only time they will see a righty until a possible game five, maybe they can string some hits together and steal one from the Yankees in New York.




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Dave Allen's other baseball work can be found at Baseball Analysts.


9 Responses to “ALDS Coverage: Twins Offense in Game 1”

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  1. Ray says:

    I know they’re all baseball players, but wouldn’t Gardenhire have been better served with Gomez’s glove in there over Harris’ awful bat?

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    • JoeR43 says:

      I just find it amusing that Gardy’s solution to losing Morneau is give Cabrera more PA’s than Mauer.

      Problem is, the LaRussa-esque 9-1-2 possibility of this lineup is non-existant. There’s no one you can justify hitting #9 that can get on base without much power so that you can move Mauer up to #2 behind Span.

      And for anyone (very few now) that don’t think Mauer is MVP…look at that lineup. Half of them range from low-end starter to barely MLB quality, and they made the playoffs. In some cases, kudos to guys like Kubel, Cuddyer, and Young for picking it up nice, but still.

      (P.S. Young’s line in the 2nd half was .300/.322/.502 in 214 PA, with a BABIP actually less than his 1st half’s by a good margin, .364 to .317. Maybe he’s making his hacktastic approach work now, even though the fact that he hit as many HR as he had BB is still un-friggin-real).

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      • Nestor Chylak says:

        I don’t think anyone who reads the comments section of Fangraphs posts believes anyone but Mauer should be AL MVP.

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    • Bryz says:

      Yes, but ever since Young started hitting, Gardy has made Gomez into a defensive replacement for *drum roll* Jason Kubel, one of the few guys that shouldn’t be replaced just because of his offense. Plus, comparing Kubel’s value to Delmon’s shouldn’t even be close, but still it’s Kubel that loses chances of getting AB in late situations (see: 2 critical AB in game 163 given to Gomez instead of Kubel).

      However, this whole problem could be avoided if Kubel would have remained at DH instead of being switched to OF for Cuddyer when Morneau stopped playing.

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  2. Tim says:

    In the 2nd half Delmon took 6 BB’s in 203 ABs. His problem was plate discipline and it still is.

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    • JoeR43 says:

      I mentioned that, but like I said in fairness, his 2nd half wasn’t a BABIP-fueled, flukey monster. Outside of his lack of walking, he hit the ball well.

      Will he ever justify being the #1 pick in 2003? Almost guaranteed no. But at least he’s showing the signs of evolving into something useful.

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      • JohnF says:

        Right and .317 is actually below Delmon’s career average of .345, so it is sustainable in and of itself. However, he’s going to need to lower his strikeout rate to be successful. Last season, he struck out almost ten times as many times as he walked. I can’t think of many who can have success with that kind of ratio.

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  3. lookatthosetwins says:

    Not playoff worthy?

    The average wOBA for that lineup is .338. Which is exactly what Minnesota’s wOBA was for the season, good for 5th in the league. It should actually be higher than the mean wOBA, since the best players are all in the top 5 and are more likely to get an extra PA. Tampa Bay is the only non-playoff team that beat out Minnesota in wOBA this year.

    The defense is what isn’t playoff worthy. You should rewrite this post, and show the UZRs for the Twins’ lineup. Brutal.

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  4. MikeS says:

    So if there starting pitching was not great, there offense is “not playoff worthy” and there defense wasn’t as good as in years past, what are they doing in New York, still playing.

    I know the AL Central was weak, but how did this team even win 80 games? Did Mauer change uniform numbers and hit 15 times a game? Did the bullpen throw 6 innings a day? Did Gardenhire hypnotize opponents with his beard? Somebody pleas explain.

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