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Waiting It Out

It's Tough to Win When You Have to Start Your Bench:  Depleted position ranks continue to neutralize offense.

Still down by two after Kubel knocked in Cuddyer in the bottom of the ninth, the Twins went to their bench for a pinch hitter.  The best option they had was Luis Rodriguez.  On deck was the next best option, Mike Redmond.  There's certainly a role for players like Rodriguez and Redmond, but Alpha Pinchers they are not.

Leaving the game, the Twins starting lineup consisted of four players with an OPS of .662 or worse.  Rodriguez and Redmond are sporting tallies of .544 and .532 respectively.  With Rondell White, Jeff Cirillo and Luis Castillo all suffering some form of ailment keeping them from active duty, the seperation between the Twins offensive threats and the rest of the bats has grown even larger.

Coming into the season, the Twins were in a bit of a precarious offensive position.  They needed supplemental players to perform at levels equivalent to what they did in 2006 in order to have a well-rounded offense.  As things sit now, if the middle of the Twins order can't drive in runs, run support is going to suffer.  In the last three games the Twins have been outscored 15-7, cut down by starting pitchers Jorge De La Rosa, Jeremy Sowers and Fausto Carmona.  Case in point:

Hitters    AB   H  R  RBI  BB  K   Avg   Obp   Slg
3-6        48  13  5    4   3  9  .271  .314  .396
1, 2, 7-9  59  10  2    3   2  6  .169  .197  .220

While the middle of the order was a little light-hitting these last three games, (keep in mind that Morneau went 1-for-13 with one RBI and three strike outs; Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer and Torii Hunter were .343/.395/.514) there was about as close to no help from the rest of the lineup as you can get.

Twenty games is twenty games.  At what point does "waiting it out" get dangerous?  If they continue to wait for a consistently healthy and injury free lineup, the offense gets incredibly thin.  If they continue to flail and start to fall behind in the standings, the odds of them making a run like they did in 2006 are, at best, improbable.  When does "waiting it out" turn from a show of faith to an example of trepidation at the thought of taking a risk?

Everyone knows what the Twins have to offer as pieces to a move, and everyone knows what could stop the Twins from pulling the trigger on a trade.  The answers have been the same for a number of years running.  The question is whether or not the Twins have the cojones to be aggressive in an external acquisition at the major league level, should the offensive struggles continue.

At 11-9, twenty games into the year, it is still too early to make any major moves outside of the organization.  But at some point the term "too early" cannot be properly applied to the campaign, and that point is approaching.  It isn't too early to consider that change may be necessary, and necessary soon.

Oh yeah, and that two-strike delivery by Santana in the top of the seventh with two outs?  It was a strike, bitches.