Monday, April 19, 2010

Off-Day Happenings.

Monday's scheduled off-day will give Twins fans a night free of baseball to enjoy the unusually warm spring evening in Minnesota. However, if you are an agoraphobic, 1500ESPN's Phil Mackey has you covered. He's organized a live chat on-line to discuss the state-of-the-Twins for tonight at 8 PM. Joining Mackey will be Aaron Gleeman, John Bonnes, Seth Stohs and myself, screeding away thoughts and opinions on the team's 9-4 start. That's right: Four iconic Twins writers and me, the Ringo Starr/Oates/Garfunkel of the blogging community. 

Other matters:

  • The Twins' new stadium is keeping MLB's attendance numbers from going kerplunk. The turnout thus far has been wonderful yet it appears that the interest in the mid-week games against Cleveland are not drawing nearly the same attention that the Boston series did.
  • Justin Morneau's 13 walks is tied for the most in the American League. Part of the reason is that pitcher's are refusing to throw Morneau strikes, hitting the zone just 41% of the time (below the 48% average) and Morneau, in turn, is not chasing those pitches as much as he had in the past (following just 25% of pitches out-of-zone). Speaking of walks, the Twins are currently tied with the Braves for the most in baseball (65). 
  • The Twins offense has had 36 of their plate appearances run to 3-0 counts. That's seven more than the next closest, the Detroit Tigers. 
  • Ron Gardenhire is certainly picking the right moments to use Jim Thome's bat off the bench as Thome's pinch hitter leverage is at 2.59 - the 7th-highest in baseball. Unfortunately the big man is just 1-for-5 in his opportunities.
  • Target Field is playing well for Orlando Hudson. After a slow start on the road since the inaugural game in the new outdoor stadium, Hudson is 7-for-22 (.318) with three extra base hits, six walks and six runs scored. 
  • According to, the Twins are second in the American League in net bases gained with +11, trailing the go-go Oakland A's who are +24 bases and leading all of baseball. 
  • John Dewan's Plus/Minus defensive system currently pegs Nick Punto (+4) tied with Jose Lopez, Miguel Tejada and Ian Stewart as the top third baseman in baseball. Despite what Dick N Bert like to relay during the telecasts, Denard Span ranks 30th among center fielders with a -1 rating, losing most of his marks in fielding deep fly balls. 
  • Baseball America's JJ Cooper reviews prospect Kyle Gibson's first two professional starts. After a five-run, six-hit debut that included a pair of home runs, Miricles pitching coach Steven Mintz said that Gibson's outing was a little misleading given the stiff wind that day. His second outing demostrated Gibson's talent better, as the 2009 first round draft pick implemented a solid changeup to keep hitters off-balance.