Twins Record This Week: 3 - 4
Twins Record Overall: 15 - 27
This Week's Fan Confidence Rating: 30
This was a week of halves. The four losses here were the last half of that awful nine-game losing streak, while the three wins represent the current winning streak that our boys are riding. So we'll have plenty of green and red today.
Nick continues to rock the month of May, and 2011 is no different. With another start still coming this month, he's already 2-0 with a 1.63 ERA in 27.2 innings. Hitters have hit a paltry .216/.303/.320.
This is the kind of performance we need from the rotation - a guy who, for a stretch of games, can step up and deliver ace-type performances. Francisco Liriano is still the only pitcher on this staff who has the tools to even be capable of this kind of a performance on a consistent basis, but that doesn't mean competent guys like Blackburn, Carl Pavano and especially Scott Baker can't deliver in stretches.
Trevor Plouffe's Offense
Call it luck or call it taking advantage of opportunities, but after appearing in just nine games Plouffe has 8 RBI. That ties him for fifth on the team. Yes, that's good for fifth, even though we're a quarter of the way through the season.
What he has always offered offensively, moreso than most shortstops, is a bit of pop in his bat. And we've seen evidence of that. A pair of doubles and a pair of impressive home runs make four extra base hits out of ten total, meaning that in spite of his small sample size his .514 slugging percentage leads the team. He's also drawn four walks, at that's very solid for 42 plate appearances. Here's hoping he continue to be a catalyst for this offense.
There isn't any doubt that Plouffe has enough arm to play shortstop. Or even third base. And while he's no Adam Everett or even J.J. Hardy in terms of range, he's not a lead foot either. He can move. But the accuracy of said arm is very hit and miss.
Yesterday's game is a prime example of that, as not one, not two, but three throws pulled Michael Cuddyer fully off of first base. On two of those occasions Cuddyer was able to apply the tag to the runner anyway, but that doesn't make it okay.
A lot of issues like these are just as much mental as they are mechanical. Plouffe knows he's not the most accurate shortstop in the world, and we all know that in sports there are times where it's better not to think. Sometimes it's better to just do. I'm sure the Twins will be working with Plouffe on his "just do", but right now he's still earned the starting shortstop job.
Still No Such Thing As A Winning Week
Seven weeks into the season, and the Twins still haven't won more games than they've lost in any of our seven-day periods (roughly Thursday to Thursday).
I put this very tenderly, and with a warning of cautious optimism, but Justin has looked better this week. He isn't bailing out quite so often at the plate. And he's getting results.
In his last eight games he's collected five doubles, as well as that big home run yesterday afternoon. Justin has 11 doubles this season which, if my math works out, actually puts him on pace for 40+ doubles this season. That's a good thing.
In those same eight games, Justin is 12-for-31 with six extra base hits, giving him a .387/.457/.645 line in that period. His season OPS has jumped 124 points since his 0-for-4 on May 10.
On the Mend
Delmon Young is back, to disappointing results. Kevin Slowey is back, to...interesting...results. But Jim Thome, Jason Repko, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and Joe Mauer are all getting closer to returning. The former two should join the team on Monday, but the latter two are getting ever closer.
I've used this one before but it's worth mentioning again. I know I feel good right now, riding this three-game winning streak, but as Bert is fond of saying:
Oakland has a lot of foul territory You have to win the series. And it needs to be done consistently.
With half of a team, which is essentially what the Twins have been playing with, the one thing they need to avoid are massive losing streaks. That nine-gamer? Terrible. Treading water is the ideal at this point, so if the Twins can tack on another win or two here before another loss that would be great.
What about you? What's affecting your fan confidence this week?