Taking an early snapshot of the 2009 Twins

Published 8:17 am Thursday, April 23, 2009

There are supposedly two happenings that are inescapable, death and taxes.  I’m sure about one, but I don’t know about the other. Tom Daschle escaped taxes or at least a large portion for a while. And President Obama says he is working on taxes.

Time seems to be something else we can’t escape. There is nothing we can do about time and while Einstein said it was possible to change time, I think it is beyond the reach of us ordinary mortals. There are three moments in time, the past, present and the future. All we know for sure is the past. We live in the present and spend a great deal of time trying to anticipate the future. 

I thought it might be interesting to take snapshots of the Twins at different times  throughout the season and then use these snapshots to mark the progress or lack thereof of the team.  Who knows, it may give us a handle on their future

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This snapshot is at 11 games and the team is a sorry bunch. The Twins have absorbed two shellackings by the Toronto Blue Jays. They are not hitting, not pitching, and are making mistakes in the field.

Their best two hitters for average are part-time players: Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher. Justin Morneau is hitting well, but he can’t do it all by himself. Denard Span and Nick Punto are hitting their average, but the rest of the team is flailing away. Michael Cuddyer’s batting average is at .238 and he’s hit one home run when the bases were empty and the team trailing 9-1.  Jason Kubel, Mike Redman, Jose Morales and Alexi Casilla have batting averages in the low two hundreds. (More about Casilla later.

The biggest disappointments to date have been Joe Crede, Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez hitting .182, .148 and .103, respectively. You say that it’s not fair to judge them with the season only two weeks along. You’re right, it’s not fair, but this is a snapshot and they were caught not proceeding through a green light. Perhaps the next snapshot will have these numbers completely reversed.

The Twins are batting .241 compared to 2008’s .279 and their opponents are hitting .296.  This gives you an idea of the Twins’ futility at the plate and on the mound

Twins’ pitching has been abysmal. Out of the 12-man staff, four have performed well. Glen Perkins, Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan and Jesse Crain. The total staff’s ERA is 5.94. The vaunted young pitching staff including ace Scott Baker has been horrendous and have not been helped by the play of the defense. One example is Casilla, who tried to casually a throw from the outfield, muffed it and allowed a runner to score the go ahead run. The Twins have not been playing good ball, but on the rare occasions when they have gotten good pitching, they have looked much better. I think that points out that the season depends on the team’s young pitching staff. Gardenhire and Rick Anderson have their work cut out for them.

It’s hard to keep your perspective when the team plays poorly, but there have been some bright spots. Morneau has played like an MVP both offensively and defensively. Delmon Young has looked like he is really trying and has played well in left field. Punto has played a good shortstop. Span has started like last year was not a fluke and Brian Buscher looks like he belongs. Glen Perkins has been a pleasant surprise and Francisco Liriano has shown indications of becoming an ace.            

I think the Twins will get beyond this rough patch, particularly when Joe Maurer comes back and gives the team a real and psychological boost. We’ll probably all look back at this snapshot and have a good laugh.