Inability to drive in runs
by, 05-13-2012 at 12:13 PM (911 Views)
The Twins lost 2-1 yesterday, wasting a pretty good season debut by P.J. Walters. From the AP story:
The struggling Twins offense couldn't come up with a timely hit. Minnesota went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and stranded six runners over the final four innings.
"We had plenty of chances, but it just didn't work out for us tonight,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Hm. On offense, the Twins had 5 hits total, but 6 walks to go with them. The Jays had 7 hits, and no walks. The Jays grounded into two double plays; the Twins didn't ground into any but had a runner cut down on a fly ball. The teams had two extra base hits apiece:, a double and a homer for the Jays; two doubles for the Twins. For the game:
TOR: BA=.219 OBP=.219 SLG=.344 OPS=.563
MIN: BA=.161 OBP=.297 SLG=.225 OPS=.522
These are both poor batting results, as you could expect in a 2-1 game. OPS isn't the greatest stat in the world, for various reasons - but it says that in this game, Toronto did a little less poorly. The Twins did a nearly acceptable job at getting guys on base (league average OBP this year is .317), but their slugging was putrid (league SLG is .405). The eventual game winning hit was Bautista's home run. Mauer and Dozier apparently gave the ball a ride but only collected doubles. That turned out to be the difference in the game.
Walks are better than outs, doubles are better than singles, and homers trump them all. Bautista didn't have anyone on base when he connected. But he put himself in scoring position nonetheless while standing at home plate, and the Jays won. (Since the Twins only run was scored on a walk, this means two of the three runs in the game were not covered by the RISP statistic, for what that's worth.)
For the season, the Twins are 10th in the league in getting on base. They are dead last in slugging average (and in home runs in particular). Not coincidentally, they are also dead last in runs scored. The table setting is below par, and the power is simply not there at all. Adding Komatsu and Mastroianni only addresses the table setting, at best, and does nothing for the glaring need, throwing the offense further out of balance even if they do better than the players they replaced.
Until both facets of the game improve, and a balance between getting on base and driving runners in is achieved, run scoring is going to remain at a premium.
And until such time as the Twins still lose despite getting better game-OPS than their opponent, lamenting about 0-9 with runners in scoring position is for, well, losers.