April 26, 2006

Deja Vu

Perhaps it's just a carry over from last season, but I'm already sick of watching the Twins' feeble attempts at scoring runs. The hitters were largely let off the hook for their mediocre early numbers because the pitching staff was horrendous, but when the pitchers finally managed to get their act together for a couple starts in a row the offense went right back to looking as bad as last season.

Look at what the opponent's starting pitchers have done against the Twins over the past five games:

Mark Buehrle 8.0 4 1 1 1 6 1 102
Freddy Garcia 6.2 7 2 2 1 3 1 113
Jose Contreras 8.0 6 2 2 3 2 1 108
Scott Elarton 7.0 3 0 0 2 2 0 96
Runelvys Hernandez 7.0 2 1 1 0 1 1 82

Add it all up and you get a 1.47 ERA in 36.2 innings of work. And not only have the Twins managed just 22 hits and seven walks against starters over that span, they've used up a measly 13.7 pitches per inning. As with last year, the lineup makes life far too easy on the pitcher. In fact, this is a case where I'd almost like to see the hitters striking out more, because at least that would mean they were going deep into counts instead of hacking at whatever junk is thrown near the plate.

There is certainly no shame in being shut down by the likes of Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, and Jose Contreras, although it would have been nice to do a little damage against one of them. However, scoring a grand total of one run on five hits in 14 innings against Scott Elarton and Runelvys Hernandez is the same sort of pathetic hitting that was so depressing to watch last year.

Elarton had a 4.61 ERA last year and had been having significant control problems prior to facing the Twins this season. Hernandez had a 5.52 ERA last year and went 1-2 with a 10.52 ERA in three starts at Double-A to begin this season. Yet just like last season, it rarely seems to matter who the pitcher is or how bad he's been. Against the Twins everyone looks good and cruises to a Quality Start.

I'm not sure I can handle another season of 3-1 losses to guys like Hernandez, although I'll hold off complaining further in the hopes that Johan Santana can cheer me up this afternoon. Of course, if Santana has a good outing and drops to 0-4 because Mark Redman shuts the lineup down ... well, I may go insane (or insaner).

The good news? By 2010 the Twins might be playing home games outdoors. With some luck, they may even have a major league-quality lineup in place by then.

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