Thursday, May 26, 2011

The ABCs of Losing

The Twins continue to find new ways to lose games over the first portion of the season. The Twins have made losing as easy as ABC.

A~ Anemic: lacking power, vigor, vitality, or colorfulness; listless; weak: "an anemic effort"

The Twins have been anemic on many levels this season. The offense has struggled, the defense has been shaky, and the bullpen has been a train-wreck. An anemic effort has been on display in the majority of the games and that is how you create a last place team.

B~ Bautistaed: allowing one player on the opposition to hit multiple homeruns in a pitcher friendly ball mark "The Twins got bautistaed when Toronto visited Target Field"

No opponent has made Target Field look smaller than Tony Bautista. Morneau complained about the distances of the fences at Target Field in the offseason. Imagine what Bautista could do with even smaller confines at Target Field.

C~Cappsized: the inability of a relief pitcher to be successful in long relief outings. "In his second inning of work the pitcher Cappsized."

As I wrote about earlier this week, it has been a struggle for Capps to help the Twins when he is asked to pitcher more than an inning. He is the only current Twins relief pitcher that is healthy and can be relied upon. But the reliance on Capps, can't be for more than one inning.

D~Delmon-botchery: taking an awkward path to retrieving a ball hit to the outfield; the ability to give up on a play completely, "That play was a Delmon-botchery"

Young has never been know for outstanding defensive plays. His defense seems to be getting worse before it gets better.  The play that most comes to mind is the one the Span had to retrieve the ball in LF that Young had given up on. Also see: Error proned

E~Error proned: capable of making an error, "All Twins middle infielders are error-proned."

There seems to be trepidation every time a middle infielder touches the ball. Fans have to hold their breath and hope that the ball doesn't end up in the first row of seats. This could be the result of all of the many different combination of players that have manned the middle infield for the Twins of Minnesota. Also see: Delmon-botchery

F~Farmers Market: using a team's farm system extensively in the first portion of the season. "The Twins have had a farmers market in 2011."

The path between Rochester and Minnesota has been well worn this year. The frequent flyer miles have been racked up for players that have made multiple trips along this path. Pitchers, catchers, outfielders, and infielders; every position has been impacted by a move to Rochester. Also see: Rene-overload

G~General manager: the man in charge of assembling the team on the field through contract negotiations, free agent signings, drafting, etc. "The general manager was blamed for the poor start to the year"

People will always search for someone to blame when the going gets tough. In baseball one of the easiest people to blame is the general manager. There have been many excuses so far this year. The team didn't bring back the right parts for the bullpen. The contract for Pavano was too much. There is too much money tied up in Capps and Nathan.

H~Hat Trick: striking out three times in one game. "Valencia's third strikeout completed the hat trick."

There have been multiple batters that have accomplished this feat in the 2011 season. Young hitters and veteran hitters have fallen victim to the swing and miss K. Some players have even gotten the hat trick plus one. Four K's and the walk of shame back to the dugout.

I~In the hole: one of the usual places where a ground ball must go for a hit, "The infielder dove into the hole;" an unfavorable count for the pitcher or the batter, "The pitcher was in the hole 2-0 to the batter"

The Twins have been in almost every hole they could be in this season. The hitters on the Twins can not find the hole with their hits. Some of the pitchers seem to be always pitching from in the hole. The Twins are also in a hole in the division that is going to be tough to recover from; A deep hole to say the least.

J~Justin time: the amount of time it takes a former MVP to regain form after a devastating concussion, "Morneau was keeping Justin time in his return"

It has been a struggle watching Morneau at the plate this year. Something is still not right with his timing. There is frustration on the face of the slugger with every pitch that he just misses. He has been in the line-up every day trying to get his timing back. But the amount of time this transition has taken is tough for fans to endure.

K~Kubelrific: one player trying to carry the offensive load for an entire team "The way Jason has been playing is Kubelrific"

Kubel has been one of the bright spots for the Twins this year. The issue is he can not be the only player that is an offensive force for a club. The Twins have shown that they are not able to win many games when Kubel is the only one producing for them.

L~Leg Weakness: a disease that impacts a player who is entering the first year of a mega-contract. "The player missed lots of time because of leg weakness."

Many Twins fans had never heard of this ailment before Joe Mauer was diagnosed with it earlier this year. To some the condition is still hard to understand. Bilateral leg weakness is now a staple in the language of Twins Territory.

M~Mendoza line: a batting average of .200. Named after former major leaguer Mario Mendoza. "Butera struggled to stay near the Mendoza line." Also see: O-fer

The Twins have six position players that are on or below the Mendoza line. Some of these players have missed time and others have been sent back to Rochester. Repko, Rivera, Tosoni, Tolbert, Butera, and Holm are the culprits that are struggling to reach this lower level target for hitters. Also see: O-fer, Zeroitis

N~Nishied: to get taken out on a hard slide at second base, "That player just got Nishied."

Fans only got a short taste of their newest Japanese import. He has yet to have the opportunity to play in a game in front of the hometown crowd. Adjusting to the sport of baseball in America is going to take even longer with his extended time on the DL

O~O-fer: when a batter is unable to record a hit in a game, "Hughes had an o-fer last night"

It seems as if every in-game box score from FSNorth has players up and down the line-up that are suffering from an o-fer. This leads to quick innings from the opposing pitcher and less time spent against the other team's bullpen. It is hard to score runs if no one is getting on base. Also see: Mendoza line, Zeroitis

P~Pitch-to-contact: a pitcher who doesn't try to strike batters out but instead tries to get them to hit the ball weakly, especially on the ground; "The Twins tried to make Liriano pitch-to-contact." 

This phrase has been part of the Twins lexicon since the Tom Kelly era. When pitchers do not have outstanding "stuff," this seems like a decent strategy to employ. The problem is that Liriano can have dominating "stuff" and it does not make sense to pitch to contact.

Q~Quality start: when a pitcher completes at least six innings and allows three or fewer earned runs. "The starting rotation struggled to get quality starts"

The Twins starters have been having a tough time reaching the sixth inning while allowing less than three runs. In less than 50% of their games, the Twins starting pitchers have gotten a quality start. This adds even more pressure to the bullpen that is already having difficulties. Also see: Cappsized, Sloweyitis

R~Rene-overload: the results of having too many Rene's on one major league roster. "There was a Rene-overload in the batting order last night" 

At the beginning of the season, most fans were unfamiliar with the Twins having any Renes on their hometown team. Injuries led to there being more than one Rene in the field of play for the Twins. That is just too many Renes. Also see: Farmer's Market

S~ Sloweyitis: a disease caused by a former starting pitcher pushing the team to get rid of the player, "Kevin caught Sloweyitis and it moved him to the DL" 

The Twins are very close to dumping Mr. Slowey on some other team. He has struggled to adjust to his role as a relief pitcher. This has caused a lot of tension between the player and the Twins. Adios, Kevin.

T~Twin killing: a double play or when a team is out of the race by the end of May. "Morneau hit into a twin killing" 

The batters for the Twins have racked up their fair share of double plays this year. Before Mauer went to the DL, he seemed to be a machine at producing the rally ending twin killing. The Twins also find themselves well out of any playoff race and it's not even the end of May.

U~Utility player: A bench player that is capable of playing several different defensive positions. "The utility player keyed a late inning rally"

There have been quite the range of utility players on the Twins this year. Tolbert, Casilla, Hughes, and Cuddyer have all found themselves shifted to multiple defensive positions. With the exception of Cuddyer, none of these players has shown the ability to stay in the line-up as an everyday player. Too many utility players is not a good thing.

V~Valen-See-A- Slump : a second year player syndrome that impacts the batting average of a sophomore player. "Danny was in a Valen-See-A-Slump"

If you focus on Valencia's RBI and homerun totals, you might think he was having a decent year. The negative side is that his batting average is creeping closer to the Mendoza line. In fact, during his last ten games he is batting below the Mendoza line. Not the start the Twins had in mind for their up-and-coming third baseman. 

W~Watching a car wreck: a phase to describe the inability of a person to turn away from an accident as it is happening, even though it is hard to watch. "The end of the game was like watching a car wreck"

Most of the season has felt like this for Twins fans. One thing after another continues to haunt this team. Fans will continue to watch because of the connection to the squad, but it will be interesting to see how full Target Field is during the fall. 

X~Xtreme Rehabbing: when a team has more regular players on rehab assignment than in the starting line-up on a given day. "The Xtreme Rehabbing in Florida was tough on the line-up"

The injury list for the Twins has been non-stop this season. As soon as the Twins get one player back, a couple more players end up needing time to recover from an ailment. The DL list currently sits at five players and waiting for their return is another task in itself.

Y~Young and restless: a team relying on young talent to try and succeed in tough baseball league. "The young and restless Twins were having a difficult time on the field."

Relying on young players was something the Twins had to do in order to field a line-up at different times this season. A lot of these young outfielders and infielders weren't ready for the major league level yet. Their restlessness could be the cause of the many of the words on this list.

ZZerophobia: The tendency of an offense to be scared of crossing the plate to score any runs; this leads to zero runs being scored and the opposition recording a shut-out. "The Twins currently suffer from zerophobia."

The Twins were shut out for the fifth time this season against the Mariners on Wednesday afternoon. The pot holes up and down the line-up are hard to watch. There are very few offensive threats at this point and this causes even more zerophobia.

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