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The Twins may have won yesterday, but they scored one run in 9 innings against the ****ING ORIOLES. That is a pathetic offense.

So...offense. Something more important than a lot of people give it credit for.

In 2019, the Twins had a record-setting year on offense. 307 HR, 939 Runs Scored, Top 5 in pretty much every (meaningful) batting stat. However, it went radio silent in the playoffs. Scoring 2.3 runs per game against that Yankees pitching staff is pathetic.

In 2020, the Twins brought back all of the same hitters with one exception: They replaced C.J. Cron with Josh Donaldson in the starting lineup, which would make the offense (on paper) even better. But there was one red flag change: There was a different hitting coach. In 2019, it was James Rowson. In 2020-2021, it’s Edgar Varela. The Twins proceed to have a MASSIVELY disappointing year on offense, that scored exactly 2 (count em TWO!) runs in 2 games against Houston. That’s inexcusable against any pitching staff.

Going into the 2020-2021 offseason, Twins fans seemed to still want pitching and ONLY pitching in the offseason...why? Pitching was an area that needed to be a bit better, but the offense was somehow fine?

I shouldn’t have to tell you that if you score two or fewer runs per game in the playoffs, you will never win more than MAYBE a single game. That’s basic baseball. You could have a rotation of Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole, Shane Bieber, Trevor Bauer, and Clayton Kershaw. You will not win if you score <2 runs per game. (Would we really be much happier if we lost 3-1 to the Yankees or 2-1 to the Astros?) In the last 15 Playoff Games the Twins have played in, this is how many runs they’ve scored

ZERO times they score 5+ runs
3 times they scored 4 runs
2 times they scored 3 runs
4 times they scored 2 runs
6 times they scored 1 run
0 times they were shut out

Average runs/game: (3*4 + 2*3 + 4*2 + 6*1)/15 = (12 + 6 + 8 + 6)/15 = 32/15 = 2.1 runs/game. 

That is ****ing pathetic. If an MLB team hit like that during the regular season, they would lose 120-130 games. A team cannot survive with that level of offensive ineptitude. And once again, you will not beat any playoff team when you score 2.1 runs/game. Teams like the Yankees have MLB-quality offenses. Not to mention, it seems like the offensive ineptitude has gotten even worse over the losing streak, as they’ve scored 1.6 runs/game the last 10, 1.8 runs the last 5, and ONE run/game the last 3. And why do we just brush this off every time and assume it’s a fluke and that “if we just had an ace pitcher or a dominant closer (or something along those lines) we would be champions” ?

After the 2020 playoff series, we just brushed off the awful offensive performance and assumed that our offense was still good enough, despite the fact that we’ve seen this **** for 20 years now. One might argue, “Most playoff teams have that quality pitching, and you need to consistently keep your opponents to <2 runs/game.” I will tell you that will never happen in the modern game. Don’t be like Cleveland. Even teams like the Dodgers will never keep their opponents to 2.1 runs/game in the playoffs.

The Astros were no different. Didn’t the A’s and Rays wreck the Astros staff in the following series? No, the Twins haven’t consistently faced absolutely dominant ace level pitching. In 2019, they faced Luis Severino, Tanaka, and James Paxton. I don’t see a Gerrit Cole there. In 2020, they faced a mediocre Greinke, Pressly, and a bunch of rookies. Is that absolutely an dominant ace-level staff? No.

What could the solution to this be? One might argue that there isn’t one. And quite frankly, there isn’t a super obvious one. But it’s not acceptable. The Twins will NEVER win ANYTHING in the playoffs if that bolded number up above doesn’t change. And we need to stop pretending that it’s a “bad dream” whereas the bad pitching is reality.

What do you think the answer is?

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How to identify, and how to coach clutch? I do not know? 

BA w/runners in scoring position - quick wrists, soft hands, short-compact swing, good hand/eye coordination, bat to ball skills - these are the qualities I would look for and would coach. The game is different now. Strikeouts are ok, barrel stats rule - I don't know what the answer is other than to say Falvey and Levine haven't figured it out either obviously. 

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To me, the #1 trait that seems to predict hitting success is raw bat-to-ball skills. Guys in the minors that either miss a lot of pitches or can't read pitches in A/AA ball rarely dramatically improve in those areas. They might get better at guessing or optimizing their approach/swing for success in the event they run into a pitch, but that isn't a recipe for sustainable success against the upper tier pitchers. Unfortunately, we've loaded up on too many guys that lack the raw bat-to-ball skills in exchange for power or toolsy athleticism. Thus, the logjam of guys who are readily mowed down by playoff-caliber pitchers.

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11 minutes ago, Taildragger8791 said:

To me, the #1 trait that seems to predict hitting success is raw bat-to-ball skills. Guys in the minors that either miss a lot of pitches or can't read pitches in A/AA ball rarely dramatically improve in those areas. They might get better at guessing or optimizing their approach/swing for success in the event they run into a pitch, but that isn't a recipe for sustainable success against the upper tier pitchers. Unfortunately, we've loaded up on too many guys that lack the raw bat-to-ball skills in exchange for power or toolsy athleticism. Thus, the logjam of guys who are readily mowed down by playoff-caliber pitchers.

This makes for a good narrative but it's not really true. The Twins are seventh in the AL in strikeouts, directly ahead of really good teams like the White Sox and Yankees.

But last in the AL in strikeouts? Tampa Bay, and it's not close. And they're doing okay for themselves as a whole.

The Twins are ****ing terrible in critical situations and I've looked at the numbers from every direction I can think of... and there isn't a narrative I can find that fits, the team just ****ing sucks at those critical situations for reasons I do not understand.

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7 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

This makes for a good narrative but it's not really true. The Twins are seventh in the AL in strikeouts, directly ahead of really good teams like the White Sox and Yankees.

But last in the AL in strikeouts? Tampa Bay, and it's not close. And they're doing okay for themselves as a whole.

The Twins are ****ing terrible in critical situations and I've looked at the numbers from every direction I can think of... and there isn't a narrative I can find that fits, the team just ****ing sucks at those critical situations for reasons I do not understand.

I'm talking less about strikeouts and more about making quality contact. Hitting for average and identifying good pitches. The raw "hit" tool. We know La Tortuga can get the bat to the ball and may not strike out a ton, but the value of his bat is still limited by discipline and the quality of the contact (i.e., giving the opposing infield a day of pop up practice).

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3 minutes ago, Taildragger8791 said:

I'm talking less about strikeouts and more about making quality contact. Hitting for average and identifying good pitches. The raw "hit" tool. We know La Tortuga can get the bat to the ball and may not strike out a ton, but the value of his bat is still limited by discipline and the quality of the contact (i.e., giving the opposing infield a day of pop up practice).

The Twins are sixth in the AL in batting average, though. Like I said, I just don't think there's a good narrative for what we're seeing here.

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