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Article: Game Thread: Twins v Diamondbacks, 8/18 @ 7:10pm CT

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Byron Buxton is Struggling but the Twins are Winning

Posted by TwinsTakes-RD , 07 April 2017 · 1,614 views

2017 minnesota twins paul molitor byron buxton winning strikeouts
Byron Buxton is Struggling but the Twins are Winning

Do you like Wins (Ws) or do you dislike Strikeouts (Ks)?


The Minnesota Twins are 4-0 to begin the season and they've used all aspects of the game to help them win those 4 games. They've pitched very well, they've played great defense and they've scored plenty of runs to win two games and as much as they needed to win the other two games. Unfortunately, Byron Buxton is struggling mightily at the plate and he's hitting out of the number 3 spot in the batting order. He's still playing great defense and the Twins have needed that defense to help win the 4 games.

So, here's the question, with Byron Buxton struggling, do you move him down in the batting order to take some pressure off of him? Or, do you leave him in the 3 spot because the team has been winning?

On the season, Byron Buxton is 1-for-18 with 1 hit, 1 walk and 11 strikeouts. He's struggling to make contact with the ball. Because of that, we've heard he can't hit and he's terrible and, of course, we've heard the Twins should move him out of the 3 spot in the batting order. A lot of fans thought right off the bat (no pun intended) that he shouldn't be hitting from that spot in the batting order, anyways.

Before the game, Paul Molitor said he won't consider moving Buxton out of the third spot just yet. Then, last night, Byron went 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts and he said after the game, "I ain't swinging the bat so good." He also made 2 spectacular catches in the first inning to keep the game scoreless on one catch and at 1-0 with the other catch. The 2nd catch was the 3rd out of the inning and the White Sox had runners on first and second so most likely 2 runs would've scored if he doesn't catch that ball. The final score was 3-1 Twins so he's helping the Twins win with the glove despite being non-existent with the bat.

Why mess with what might be a winning formula and, at the same time, chance messing up Byron Buxton's mental state even more by moving him from the 3rd spot in the batting order? He's already putting too much pressure on himself to produce, thinking he has to swing when he doesn't, being too anxious on every pitch. He's going to put in the work to get out of this slump and he'll have the help & support of all his teammates and coaches to get him through it so leave him there for now while reassuring him of the reasons he was put in that spot to start the season.

Someone commented that it doesn't matter if they're winning. What? The whole point of the game is to win! What other reason is there for playing the game? YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME! Herm is right! Now, teams can play bad and win and play good and lose. There's almost always something that can be done better to help you win, but, like someone else said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

So, let's say he moves down the batting order after 4 games and 19 plate appearances and the Twins start losing. What do you do then? Move him back? Try something else? There's no reason to panic after 4 games no matter who's struggling at the plate, in the field, or on the mound. It's a 162-game season. Players can't be playing scared that they're going to come out if they make a mistake. It's a team game. The team wins or the team loses.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, or 'Takes.




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HitInAPinch
Apr 08 2017 05:11 AM

Like I posted in another thread, I don't understand what there is to gain by moving Buxton around in the lineup.Taking away 1, may 2 AB's per game?Reducing pressure by 20-25% ?Is it equally possible that moving him down in the order going to have the reverse affect?

 

He's got to learn how to handle pressure.Buxton's atrocious start at the plate hasn't hurt the Twins is 4 games, all wins.Let him work it out with Rowson.

    • TwinsTakes-RD likes this

I think many are frustrated right now because we know Twins pitching. And we know that having the worst batter on the team in the #3 spot will come back to haunt this team.  Right now the Twins are giving up an out, right in the middle of the order.  Every time Buxton's due up in an inning, the Twins have just 2 outs to work with instead of 3. Twins fans who watched this team lose 103 games last year aren't keen on that.  And with the 4-0 start, most of us are waiting for the other shoe to drop....anxious and wringing our hands about the negatives. 

 

The commenter above makes a good point though.  The bottom of the order has been getting on base, too.  So no matter where Buxton hits in the lineup, he's going to be hitting with men on base and in pressure situations.  The new Twins regime has dubbed 2017 the year that we get these guys experience.  I think the Twins are going to just keep rolling Buxton out there, and they probably should.  Buxton CAN hit the ball.  It's all mental for this kid right now.  

    • TwinsTakes-RD likes this
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TwinsTakes-RD
Apr 08 2017 10:35 AM

As a team and/or a manager running the team, not to mention a Hall of Fame hitter himself, Paul Molitor knows Buxton can be a good hitter and he knows the pressure he may have put on him putting him in the 3 hole but he did it for a reason. Maybe that reason is to get the experience of those pressure situations so he can learn how to deal with it and get better because of it. Maybe he put him there to make him learn how to take better at-bats so he can eventually put him as the leadoff hitter, too.

 

It starts with better at-bats and getting into better counts. His last at-bat, against Nate Jones, was better. He fouled off 3 pitches before striking out for the 4th time. He's not showing any frustration from his rough start and that is a good thing. I'm sure he's asking his hitting coach and his manager for advice or, even Torii Hunter and maybe even David Winfield, who showed him how to break in a glove at Spring Training. 

 

He'll get it going at some point. Hopefully, that point is very soon because he's not coming out of the lineup anytime soon. He's too good with the glove.

 

 

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TwinsTakes-RD
Apr 08 2017 10:43 AM

Lineups are out for today's game and Byron Buxton is hitting 7th so we'll see what affect this has on the game, I guess.

Here's the lineup:

2B Dozier

RF Kepler

3B Sano

1B Mauer

SS Polanco

C Castro

CF Buxton

LF Rosario

DH Escobar

P Mejia

I actually really like the creativity Monitor has shown with the lineup, see what he is doing, but would like the options better with Park on the roster. That being said, part of hitting is psychological, especially for a young player. Buxton may be applying his own self-induced pressure hitting in the 3 spot. It's only a few games, but moving him down, for now, doesn't remove him from the lineup, just, maybe, reduces the pressure he feels. I like moving him down for now. I'd have Polanco take the 3 spot for now. He has extensive milb experience there and it may ease Buxtons mind for now.
    • TwinsTakes-RD likes this