The true importance of the strikeout is a subject of much debate in baseball circles. It is generally agreed, though, that the K is a powerful weapon for pitchers, one with strengths (it's the most reliable method of recording an out) and weaknesses (pitching for strikeouts requires more pitches and taxes the arm).
Dennis Brackin wrote a great piece for the Star Tribune last week on the subject of pitching to contact, which is a philosophy that the Twins have
Well, I never expected it would be this bad.
Sure, I had plenty of doubts about these 2012 Twins. I realized I was being somewhat optimistic when I projected them to finish around .500, and I also realized that there was a chance injuries could pile up and send the club into the same sort of spiral that engulfed it last summer.
The thing is, the roster has remained relatively healthy. Outside of Scott Baker, the Twins have largely been playing
The Twins announced today that they have designated infielder Sean Burroughs for assignment to make room for Drew Butera on the 25-man roster. This one is a head-scratcher.
You can certainly make the argument that Joe Mauer's knee tenderness necessitated a call-up for Butera, as he may serve as more of a second catcher than third catcher for the time being. It's just tough to understand why the Twins felt the need to dump Burroughs when there was no good reason
After missing a couple games due to the birth of his child, Josh Willingham returned to the Twins lineup on Sunday and immediately made his presence felt, delivering a two-run triple in his first at-bat to set the tone in a 7-4 Twins victory.
Willingham finished the day 3-for-5 with a double and a single in addition to the three-bagger, raising his OPS to an eye-popping 1.163.
The left fielder has hit safely in 17 of 19 games as a Twin while
The Twins have played 18 games this year, and Joe Mauer has been in the starting lineup for every single one. That's right – you might not have noticed, but the embattled catcher has not taken a day off this season after missing half of the 2011 campaign due to various ailments.
This is the longest Mauer has even gone into a season without stopping to rest, and it's not like the early schedule has been particularly forgiving, with only one day off and
Francisco Liriano was tagged with a loss Sunday as he allowed five runs over five innings, handing out four walks while throwing just 47 of 86 pitches for strikes.
It qualified as his best start of the season.
Through four turns, Liriano sits with an 11.02 ERA, 2.28 WHIP and 12-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 16 2/3 innings. Only 57 percent of his pitches are finding the zone, which is the same rate he finished with in 2011. He was being counted on this year to rebound
* It's funny how the timing works out sometimes.
On Monday, I wrote a post here discussing the offense's struggles, noting that they stemmed largely from a lack of production from Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. At that point, both lineup cornerstones had contributed minimally, which was a big reason the Twins were averaging just 3.1 runs over their first nine games.
My conclusion: "It's too early to panic with either of these players, but up to this point they haven't really
After watching their lineup get decimated by injuries last season, the Twins were hoping they'd have better luck keeping position players healthy in the new campaign. So far, so good in that regard. There have been no broken bones, no bilateral leg weakness, no reemergence of concussion symptoms.
Unfortunately, pitching has been a different story. The Twins lost Joel Zumaya, their projected top right-handed setup option, and Scott Baker, their potential No. 1 starter, before either
Pat Borzi of MinnPost wrote a column last week suggesting that the current iteration of the Twins lacks heart. He drew a comparison to the 2002 team, which was being celebrated during the opening series at Target Field, stating that it's "hard to imagine this roster, especially the younger players, clawing and scrapping like their counterparts from 10 years ago."
I don't know about all that, but I would say this team has been suffering from the absence of
I wasn't in attendance at Monday's home opener, but by all accounts Target Field was mostly lifeless during a 5-1 snoozer that dropped the home team to 0-4 on the season. Through four games, the Twins have scored six runs and haven't held a lead at any point.
The brutal start is making it tough for fans to generate any kind of enthusiasm following a 99-loss campaign in which this type of dreadful play was all too common. It's easy to overreact in situations such as this – consider that
In their opening series against the Orioles, the Twins didn't pitch especially well and they played some horrible defense. But without question, the story of the weekend was a complete lack of offense against a Baltimore staff that led the majors in runs allowed last year.
Despite their late surge with the bats in spring training, the Twins looked totally unprepared for the start of the season, as a mediocre trio of starters were made to look like stars. The lineup tallied only two
Updated 04-09-2012 at 02:25 AM by Nick Nelson
On September 28th of last year, Carl Pavano tossed a five-hit shutout at Target Field, leading the Twins to a 1-0 victory over the Royals. It was the final game of the 2011 season, and its only significance was keeping the Twins from reaching 100 losses – a deflating milestone even if it's virtually no different from 99.
On Friday, Pavano will again be on the mound, this time looking to kick off the 2012 Redemption Tour. Returning after the worst season in
Back when I was in college, I was a huge Golden Gopher hockey fan (well, still am; can't wait to see the boys battle Boston College on Thursday). Since I was majoring in journalism and had an acute interest in sportswriting, I figured it would be wise to seek an opportunity to cover the team for a media outlet.
I ended up landing in a volunteer position with the school radio station. The gig consisted of watching Friday night games from the press box, calling in to give live on-air
* The Twins made their final round of cuts yesterday, sending Brian Dozier, J.R. Towles, Casey Fien and Brian Dinkelman to Rochester. With that, the season-opening 25-man roster has come into clear focus; it will include four starters, eight relievers and – surprisingly – only two catchers.
Drew Butera and J.R. Towles appeared to be battling for the third catcher job, but both will open the campaign in Triple-A, meaning that Ron Gardenhire will have Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit as his