What has gotten into the lads?

Posted on June 26th, 2008 – 12:46 PM
By La Velle

I woke up this morning in need of a nice cup of coffee, but before I did that I turned on the computer to look at boxscores and stats.

I ran across the following, and suddenly didn’t need the caffeine kick:

I don’t know how long it will last, so I better make a big deal out of this now.

Who would have believed that the Twins are outscoring teams like the Yankees? Or leading their division in runs? Or scoring despite being so power deficient?

They don’t have a leadoff hitter (or their leadoff hitter is actually batting second), their No. 5 hitter has three homers, their left fielder has underperformed.

But they have a lot going for them right now.

Joe Mauer: You can knock him for his lack of power, but there’s no one else on the team more qualified to bat third, and he’s done it well.

Justin Morneau: He’s third in the AL in RBI as he continues to evolve as a hitter.  By that I mean his pitch selection continues to improve.

Alexi Casilla: He’s worked with Joe Vavra and Rochester coach Riccardo Ingram to shorten his swing and not drift as he swings. He’s taking good at-bats and sets the table for Mauer and Morneau. And he has more RBI than Mike Lamb, Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Craig Monroe – and as many as Carlos Gomez – in just 37 games played.

Other stuff: Harris has hit well the past week or so. Brian Buscher has provided from third base – which isn’t what we’re used to. Jason Kubel could hit 20-25 homers on a team that sorely needs power.

Stats: The Twins are batting a major league best .314 with runners in scoring position. They are second with a .279 average with two-out RISP situations. They are third in the majors in close and late situations (kind of an odd stat, but I’m rolling right now), batting .277.

I don’t think Casilla is the only reason, but since he was called up on May 13, the Twins are averaging 0.7 runs a game more than before.

The Twins are on pace to score 783 runs, up from the 718 they scored last season. 

A couple other things: The Twins’ run diifferential is only plus-6 – it’s taken awhile to work off the fat from the White Sox series – but Arizona made the playoffs last season with a differential of -20.
And the Twins’ piostseason odds have taken a noticaeble leap, according to Baseball Prospectus. I remember them being in the single digits before the streak. Now the Twins have closed the gap on the Tigers.

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