Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Error Message for the Twins

An error on Casilla leads to a 1-0 loss
The Twins have found multiple ways to struggle as the 2011 season has begun. At times their pitching has been weak, their offense has been atrocious, and their defense has been sub-par. All of these issues have meant a 3-6 start for the Twins and a much needed off day on Monday.

The Twins spent most of last season playing excellent defense with the veteran players that they employed at key positions. This year has seen the Twins go in another direction and add different players to their defensive positioning. With these changes there has been a much higher frequency of defensive errors.

This time last year the Twins had zero errors from their starting infield and a total of one error through nine games. That lone error was charged to Delmon Young in the seventh game of last season in Chicago. This season has been an entirely different tale with the Twins amassing seven errors in the first nine games.

The infield has five of the seven errors and the Twins have witnessed some of these errors being the difference between winning and losing. Danny Valencia and Tsuyoshi Nishioka each have two errors in the small amount of games that have been played. Alexi Casilla, Carl Pavano, and Denard Span each have an error on their record this year.

During the first inning of the Twins Home Opener, Carl Pavano threw the ball into the outfield on a pick off play at second base. This error allowed the A's to score a run and it almost cost Pavano the game. The Twins managed to squeeze out a couple of late inning runs to get the win but it still could have been a very costly error.

Over the weekend, Casilla took his error very hard as it resulted in the Athletics winning a game. His throwing error allowed the A's to score their only run of the game. Kurt Suzuki came in to score and the Twins wouldn't be able to push across a run through the rest of the contest. A valuable game that hopefully won't cost the Twins any positioning late in the season.

The injury to Nishioka means that the Twins are going to be playing mix-and-match in the middle infield for the next four to six weeks. The Twins have used Luke Hughes and Michael Cuddyer at second base since the injury to their newly acquired Japanese player. Both Hughes and Cuddyer were shaky in their time up the middle. Hughes has seen balls squirt out of his glove and Cuddyer has seen some bad hops. This patchwork infield might only add to the error problems for the Twins.

In recent years the Twins have prided themselves on strong defense and pitching to win multiple division titles. For the Twins to continue their run in the AL Central, they are going to need to cut down on these defensive lapses. Getting a few more hits with runners in scoring position would also help to cover up some of the early season errors, but that is an entirely different story.

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