Inspired by the team's rousing 12-10 victory last night, I feel like jotting down a few notes on the season thus far, in an exercise I feel is best referred to as 'Small Sample Size Theater':
- Tony Batista got another walk last night, and is now up to 5 walks on the season. Doesn't he know he's supposed to be an out machine? (Kidding, kidding.) It will be interesting to see if this can hold up. For historical precendent, I checked out his 2004 splits. In 2004, his walks by month were 2, 7, 2, 3, 3, and 9. So, it really isn't unprecedented for him to go and get a reasonable number of walks in a month. However, if Batista can keep his walk rate up just ever so slightly, there's a fairly big difference between .290 OBP Batista and .320 OBP Batista.
- J.C. Romero is now up to 6.75 BB/9 on the season, pretty close to his 6.16 BB/9 rate from last year. I guess he's not exactly a control freak.
- Reason #2,348 that it's still early in the season: one at bat can change your line from .167/.286/.389 to .211/.318/.579. Gotta love a walk-off home run. Perhaps the most encouraging sign is that Gardy was willing to pinch-hit for his boy Punto in a key late-game situation.
- Castillo basically continues to be what we expected out of him at .372/.460/.442. Sure, we didn't expect the average to be that high, but even if it goes down to .302, he can still safely sport a .390 OBP, and it would still represent a tremendous upgrade over what we got from second base last year.
- And you thought the offense was finally ready to carry it's own weight? Eh...you might want to reconsider. The Twins' team OPS right now is 23rd in all of baseball, which is safely in line with their 23rd ranking in runs scored.
- Which brings me to my next point. 23rd of 30 is better than last year's essentially 30th of 30 on offense, but it's rather alarming to see the staff's ERA at 5+. I know, I know, they've been facing some strong offenses in Toronto, Cleveland, Oakland, and New York. But still, it'd be nice to see a few more quality starts here and there.
- And finally...the Twins are now 7-7, 14 games through their 18 game Stretch Of Doom to begin the season. After the Twins are done with the White Sox on Sunday, they see a two week stretch of nothing but Kansas City, Detroit, and Seattle. In some respects, I think that those games might tell us more about the team than the first 18 games. If this team is going to win the division, going .500 against the tough opponents and beating the daylights out of mediocre to bad opponents would be a great formula for success.