Friday, May 13, 2011

Walks Suck

****Editor's Note: The Blogger website run by the Google Corporation has been experiencing some glitches over the last 24 hours. So that is why there have been some difficulties with my posting over the last day. Hopefully everything is back in order.***


There have been frustrations found throughout the Twins this season as the team sits at the bottom on the pile in the American League. The hitting hasn’t been there, runs have been hard to come by, and the injuries have been piling up.

During Ron Gardenhire’s run as manager of the Twins there has been one thing that the team has counted on to be successful. That key to success has been a philosophy that I touched on in a post awhile back. 

Twins pitching philosophy in t-shirt form
The Twins organization pushed players to learn to attack the strike zone. This means throwing strikes, not walking batters, and letting the batter get themselves out.  Part of this philosophy means, the pitchers have to rely on the locations of their pitches and their ability to change speeds.

The Twins pitching staff has been struggling mightily in the walks department this season. Out of the 14 teams in the American League, the Twins rank 12th in walks allowed in 2011. Since Gardenhire has been manager of the Twins, the lowest ranking the hometown nine has finished with in walks allowed was third in the American Leauge during the 2002 campaign. In fact during most of Gardenhire’s tenure, the Twins have been at the top of the American League for lowest walks allowed.

Twins AL Rank in Walks Allowed
2002- 3rd
2003- 2nd
2004- 1st
2005- 1st
2006- 1st
2007- 2nd
2008- 1st
2009- 1st
2010- 1st

There have not been the same significant injuries to the pitching staff as there have been to the other parts of the Twins roster this season. That could be a scary fact to address for Twins fans. This might be the starting pitching and bullpen that the Twins will have for the significant portion of the season.

Scott Baker threw five walks in the same game for the first time in his career in his last start. Nick Blackburn is on pace to have 74 walks, which is well over his career high of 41. The bullpen is also struggling when it comes to the walking game. Jose Mijares (9 walks), Joe Nathan (8 walks), and Alex Burnett (8 walks) have been struggling to say the least.

Walks have haunted the Twins this season. These walks have lead to late-inning rallies by the opposition to give them the lead. Other times these walks have pushed the starting pitcher out of the game too soon and put even more pressure on a taxed bullpen. Over the next month the Twins are going to start to field the line-up that was suppose to be on the field this season.

But how is the pitching going to improve?

Because watching all of the walks sucks.

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