Twins shy on talent as midway point approaches
A lot of baseball fans are asking the same question about the Minnesota Twins as I - is this as good as they can do?
With the midway point of the 2013 season approaching the Twins have not flashed any of their 2010 prowess - nor have they been as abysmal as they were in 2011 and 2012. The Twins started the week out at 34-38. They were seven games behind division-leading Detroit in the American League Central. That is not a lot of games to make up when you have half the season left to do it.
It really comes down to talent and right now the Twins are coming up short.
How many people can actually see Minnesota’s pitching staff in action when the playoffs begin in October? They rank 27th out of 30 teams in earned run average. Their relievers have respectable ERAs but their starters are nothing to sing about. Kevin Correia and Scott Diamond represent the best starters the Twins have right now. Correia is a 32-year-old journeyman who has never won more than 12 games in a single season. Diamond was brought up last year and won 12 games but his ERA this season is 5.27 and that does not earn you an invitation to the All-Star game.
Is Kyle Gibson, a former No. 1 pick coming off Tommy John surgery going to baffle veteran major league hitters to the point where we declare him our “stopper” by the season ends?
Many of us have taken pride in the kind of hitting attack the Twins can dish out but this year’s club is sputtering and coughing. There were 20 major league clubs carrying a better team batting average than the Twins on June 24 and 16 had scored more runs.
Ryan Doumit, Chris Parmalee, Trevor Plouffe, Pedro Florimon and Oswaldo Arcia have all flashed some talent at the plate this season but consistent production is what the Twins need to contend.
Joe Mauer was collecting hits at .330 clip after the Cleveland series and carried the third-best average in the American League. The 10-year veteran has one of the best swings in the majors as his career .323 average will attest to, but he has never scored or driven in 100 runs in a single season. He certainly is not on track to drive in 100 ribbies this year. Gardy has had him hitting in the No. 2 spot instead of where he belongs - the No. 3 spot - and American League’s third-best hitter has driven in a measly 25 runs.
Justin Morneau seems to have lost his home run swing with only three round-trippers. Before his concussion he could sometimes deliver three homers in a single a week. If you think his team-leading 42 RBIs makes up for his poor home run numbers forget it - he is not even in the AL’s Top 10 when it comes to driving in runs. The old Morneau was always in the Top 10.
Josh Willingham has been battling injuries this season which is why the power hitter has not enjoyed the kind of season he did in 2012. This is a guy who is coming off the best season of his career with 35 homers and 110 RBIs.
With a pitching staff that has to be considered mediocre at best, the Twins clearly need someone to spark the offense. Sometimes it only takes one guy. Shannon Stewart was the table setter in 2003. He came over from Toronto in July of that year and was the offensive catalyst that took the Twins to the AL Central title.
How much does the Twins front office want to help Gardy and his coaches? How willing are they to make the deal that will land the right people?
The Twins are drawing an average of 30,000 fans a game but that is 4,000 fewer than they were averaging last year. The Twins front office should consider that in a few weeks the Minnesota Vikings are going to start training camp and sports fans will have other places to spend their dollars. The Vikings are going to be an easy sell after winning their division last year and by August the Twins could be invisible unless they shake it up.