by, 04-21-2013 at 10:12 PM (404 Views)
Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed!
The Twins have swept two consecutive series, but due to crazy sucky weather, it only adds up to a four-game winning streak. The weather is still cold, but the Twins are hot right now. They sit in second place after beating the White Sox in two straight, and are only a half game behind the powerhouse Royals. This week, they received good enough starting pitching, solid offense, and great performances out of the bullpen. Is it sustainable?
Perhaps. Thus far, the Twins have had a roughly average overall offense from their individual players. Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham have been great, with wRC+ of 186 and 150 respectively. Chris Parmelee, Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe all come in around 100 wRC+. The combo of Pedro Florimon and Eduardo Escobar have averaged right around Mauer-level offense. Only Ryan Doumit, Brian Dozier and Aaron Hicks have been below average, although Hicks has been below zero, so that drags things down.
I fully expect some regression from the shortstop combo and an increase in production from Doumit, Morneau and even Hicks. This could lead to an offense that produces at roughly this level all season. The bullpen has been solid, and many of the performances are sustainable. If the starting pitching can be decent, the Twins can keep this up. If the offense dips or the pitching falls apart, then... well let's just enjoy the ride we're on right now.
Worley looked a lot better on Saturday. I mean, that is about as obvious a statement that one can make, but still true. Parts of his game have been good all season. Worley gave up his first home run of the season on Saturday, which surprised me. He has also limited walks all season long. The main difference on Saturday was that he racked up strikeouts. With fewer balls put in play, he gave up fewer hits. I had high hopes for Worley this season, and If he pitches like he did on Saturday, those hopes will be fulfilled.
Arcia has struggled in his few MLB games, but that doesn't worry me at all. My worry is that he won't play every game while in Minnesota. He really shouldn't even spend one game on the bench, as every game is important in his development. However, the numbers game is one that Gardenhire needs to play carefully, as his veterans need at bats too. With Parmelee slightly banged up, everything is cool right now. When he feels better, the numbers game begins.
Morneau hasn't been very good this season. He has only five extra-base hits in 65 plate appearances and his wRC+ is at 96. Most of his numbers are in line with last season, but his power is down. There is plenty of time for Morneau to turn things around. If things don't turn around, the Twins are looking at a player with low trade value, diminishing power, advancing age and a long history with the franchise. That combination of realities does not add up well for the Twins. We'll just have to hope Morneau starts to mash again.
Joe Mauer is neat. This week was just a reminder of how neat he really is. Mauer reached base 14 times in 21 plate appearances this week. If that isn't neat, I don't know what is.
Other MLB Notes
Halladay has bounced back with a couple of nice starts. I'm not sure I see anything crazy different about his peripheral stats that would explain these nice starts. I haven't seen anything that indicates his velocity is up, so that certainly doesn't help. I hope that he is improving in some way. Halladay is one of the best pitchers of this generation, and baseball is more fun when he is pitching well. He can't fight his age, but I still kind of hope he does.
Votto: "The #Reds pay me to be good. I'm not going to worry about a homerless drought. There are different ways to be good".
— Jeff Wallner (@JeffWallner) April 21, 2013
I kind of love Joey Votto. Baseball can be such a macho game. Home runs are the best way to show off how big and strong and powerful you are. If Votto understands that there are other ways to "be good" and give the team value, then more power to him. I respect his approach. He has lead the NL in OBP the last three seasons and is well on his way to adding a fourth season to that streak. He makes outs at an extremely low rate and that makes him "good."
Slowey had his best start of the season on Friday night. He went six innings, gave up one run on four hits, walked one and struck out four. Everything I wrote about Slowey when he signed with Miami was true and still is true today. Much of what I wrote was meandering and self-serving, but true. Sadly, Slowey has still not won a game in over two years. The Twins miss Slowey in their short series this week, which is a shame. Although, not having to hear Dick and Bert discuss Slowey is almost worth not getting to see if he could stick it to his former team.
Ok, I'm tapped out. Have a nice week everyone!