Another dreary loss today for the team I love the best, and I decided to try the "look for the positives" tactic. Hmmm...the Twins lost to the Royals. No positive there, where we're fast losing the battle to stay out of the basement of the AL Central. Well, the 2 rookie pitchers, Liam Hendriks and Kyle Waldrop combined to give up only 7 runs? Uh, no, not hardly. Tom Kelly once again shared the broadcast duties with Dick Bremer? You're getting warm! Actually, the most positive thing about it was the fact that our hapless hitters were able to score 3 runs! I know. Not exactly the stuff we dreamt about in April.
This realization piqued my curiousity, and after exhaustive research (OK, perhaps "exhaustive" is stretching it a bit...let's say "some" research), anyway, I got to thinking. I wondered how many games the Twins have failed to score at least 3 runs. After all, the best ERA this season to date belongs to (of all people) Johnny Cueto at 2.31, which means that he averages giving up OVER 2 runs per 9 innings! So even the best pitcher (Verlander is at 2.36) won't win too many games when his team scores 2 runs or less. In 2011 the Twins have done this:
Games of 2 runs - 19
Games of 1 run - 28
Games of 0 runs - 13
That makes a grand total of 60 games! (BTW - interestingly enough, they won 5 games this year 1-0! Only 3 more were wins out of the 60 though.)
They say that every team will win 54 games and lose 54 games. It's the middle 54 that determine how well any team does over the whole season. How can any team hope to be successful without runs? It's like giving away those 54 games right off the bat. Plus, runs give the fans something to cheer about. I've seen plenty of games where my team lost but I had a great time at the game because my team played well and there was lots to get excited about. This year there hasn't been a whole lot of that, and that is something serious. Fans will stick around if they are given a good show, but not only is it crummy to pay money to go to a 0-4 loss, it's B-O-R-I-N-G!
If this organization wants to keep fans entertained (much less field a winning team) they need to abandon this idea that speed is the answer. I love Ben Revere and his smile and the Nishioka dude and Lexi and Span, but I don't see how we can win with all of them in our line-up at the same time. A good team needs balance and unless we get some power, we are not going to fare very well for a long time. Joe seems content to hit singles or draw walks, Justin may or may not make it back to his old form, Kubel may or may not be back at all. Cuddy same. Delmon is already gone. Who is left? Danny showed some real grit with RISP, but looks shell-shocked now. Hopefully he can improve next year, but he can't do it alone. As miserable as our starting pitchers have seemed, they deserve better. It wears on them, knowing that if they give up a run or 2 they have already lost the game because their hitters won't produce. What would Verlander's record be if he had pitched for the Twins? (Hey, I can dream, can't I?)
So, Twins FO, we want to cheer for our guys next season and for many beyond that. You do your part and put a team on the field that is capable of winning. No more of this silliness. After all, Ozzie Guillen tried the speed thing in 2010. Then this year they went out and got Adam Dunn for some power! OK, bad example, but good idea. Let's do this thing and make the 2011 season be the one we look back on as "that 1 freak year where we lost a lot."
Just don't get me started on the number of losses the bullpen has...or the back-up catchers...Go, Twins!