Keep in mind that I'm writing this in the middle of the Twins v Cleveland opener so it's conceivable that Livan can turn it around and pitch a couple of scoreless innings to salvage a terrible beginning to the game, but that's doubtful. For anybody who's watch our Twins throughout this season, they might have noticed a significant difference between our boys at home versus our boys away. After a poor showing at home last year (and as a whole of course), the 2008 Twins have admirably reclaimed the Metrodome and posted a 34-19. Conversely, while the 21-27 road mark doesn't necessarily induce heavy vomiting it's not exactly helping much either. Going by memory, I recall our offense appearing particularly weak on the road. But that's not necessarily true. So far this season our offense has scored 5.1 runs per game (rpg) at home and 4.6 rpg on the road. Also our home OPS is .769 versus .716 on the road. While there is a slight difference we are by no means the greatest offenders. Looking at the teams that are likely vying for the 4 playoff spots in the American League, I wanted to see who really showed the most significant Home/Road splits (LA is a lock in my mind at this point).
Here's OPS Home/Road Differential
New York .048
Tampa Bay .039
As you can see, we're hardly the greatest offender. What was more telling was the home/road splits for pitching. And now that I think about it harder, yes I recall our young staff getting pummeled on the road. Of course you can look at the 4 game sweep at Comerica as the most telling example. Overall our pitching has a fantastic 3.22 ERA at home versus and a horrendous 5.59 ERA on the road. To break it down further it would seem that Livan (3.91 Home, 7.48 Road), Blackburn (2.70 Home, 4.83 Road) and Baker (2.38 Home, 4.01 Road) show the biggest differences. But that's not the half of it. It would seem the most important cogs in the bullpen have dazzled at home and completely fallen apart on the road: Guerrier (1.80 Home, 5.48 Road), Crain (1.69 Home, 5.30 Road), Reyes (1.17 Home, 4.50 Road). Not to mention Bass (2.84 Home, 7.45 Road) who may not be considered a cog, but he certainly has logged the innings to be considered one.
What does all this mean? Well obviously some of our younger starters are going to have to step it up while in hostel territory. And the so called "veteran leader" of the staff is going to have to lead the way or step aside. It should be noted that as the trade deadline approaches the organization continues to look towards 3rd base as the most important position to upgrade. If nothing else, this post should show that the greatest weakness continues to be the void left by Pat Neshek, and that we should be looking to shore up the bullpen for the final stretch run.