Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Twins' struggles with right-handed pitching

Maybe Thome was mad about his numbers against righties? (AP Photo)
Entering the 2011 season the Twins were stacked with great hitters from the left-side of the plate. From the top of the line-up with Span and Mauer to Morneau, Thome, and Kubel  in the middle, there could be power found on any given day from the lead-off spot to the fifth or sixth spot in the order.

This excess of left-handed hitting should mean that the Twins would match-up very well against right-handed pitchers from the opposing team. That has not been the case so far in the 2011 season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Twins got their first win of the season against a right handed starter when they beat Jeremy Hellickson and the Rays on Sunday. Up to that point in the season the Twins were 0-8 when going against a right handed hurler.

That is the longest streak the Twins have had since the team moved to Minnesota. The last team in franchise history to have that long of streak was the 1904 Senators. That team was defeated in their first ten games when the opposition started a right-handed pitcher. The 1904 Senators went on that season to lose a franchise record 113 games. Let's hope the current Twins aren't on pace to catch that mark.

Last night the Twins were set to face off against another right handed pitcher. The Twins were able to come up with their second straight win against a right handed pitcher. But the problem was that the power lefties in the Twins line-up continued to struggle against the righty. Kubel and Thome were a combined 1-8 in the game with six strikeouts.

Let's dig a little deeper into the numbers of the power lefties for the Twins against right handed starting pitching:

Mauer: 15 AB, .200 BA, 2 K
Morneau: 30 AB, .300 BA, 6 K
Thome: 30 AB, .200 BA, 9 K
Kubel: 31 AB, .290 BA, 4 K

If the Twins want to continue to make a run at their third straight Central Division crown, the left-handed power bats are going to need to improve these numbers. The Twins aren't going to be able to rely on Drew Butera having three RBI's to lead the team to a win like last night in Baltimore. The left handed bats need to step up and help to lead this team to more wins. 

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