2011 vs. 2010 Thought Experiment

So far this season, the Twins have played 3 games at Toronto, 3 games at NY, three vs Oakland, two vs KC, four at TB, four at Baltimore, two vs Clelveland, three vs TB, and three at KC. So 17 away games and 10 home games.

As a thought experiment, let's consider how the Twins did in those games last year. For situations where the Twins played more of that type of game, I will use the results of the 2010 games that were played first in chronological order.

@TOR, W 1-0
@TOR, L 1-1
@TOR, W 2-1
@NY, L 2-2
@NY, L 2-3
@NY, W 3-3
OAK, W 4-3
OAK, W 5-3
OAK, W 6-3
KC, W 7-3
KC, W 8-3
@TB, L 8-4
@TB, L 8-5
@TB, W 9-5
@TB, W 10-5
@BAL, W 11-5
@BAL, L 11-6
@BAL, W 12-6
@BAL, W 13-6
CLE, W 14-6
CLE, W 15-6
TB, L 15-7
TB, W 16-7
TB, L 16-8
@KC, W 17-8
@KC, W 18-8
@KC, L 18-9

Huh, here I thought with 16 of 27 games against the AL East and 17 of 27 games away, that looking back at last season the Twins would have been somewhere around .500 in that group of games, but it turns out they did great in those matchups last year.

More than anything, at this point I worry that the Twins don't have much depth and that seems to have hurt them so far this year as much as anything. It's possible they'll get healthier, but as they see some players come back to the lineup, they'll likely see others hit the DL.

The schedule isn't doing them any favors for a while, either. 40 of their first 61 games are on the road. These are the times which try fans' souls.

27 thoughts on “2011 vs. 2010 Thought Experiment”

  1. It's possible they'll get healthier? I would certainly hope so. They've set a record for the number of players called up in April. I know they hadn't normally played the entire month before, but still. And not only have they been injured, they've been injured in the areas of greatest weakness or where the dropoff would be greatest: catcher, middle infield and the bullpen. Normally, a corner outfielder going down would be OK, but because Cuddyer keeps getting thrown into the infield, that means Tosoni or Repko has to go out there. The White Sox are tied with the Twins and the only injury problem they have is Peavy and Humber has been much better than expected as his replacement. The Tigers have lost six straight as well. They're missing Carlos Guillen, but he's no Joe Mauer.

  2. That's almost exactly one game worse per series this year. (I guess that's how you go from 2 wins out of three to 1)

    The Twins schedule is really odd. First 60 games are predominately on the road, then they stay at home almost all summer (30 home games betwixt June 9 and July 24).

    1. They better start winning before the bountiful home games or the Gameday graphic is going to become true quicker than I expected.

    2. First 60 games are predominately on the road

      Think that was maybe done on purpose to help prevent rainouts snowouts during the early season?

          1. But rarely does the sun orbit a satellite of one of its satellites.
            In her defense, the Twins recently saved the best [game] for last.

            1. Guess I should refresh my browser more frequently - you beat me by 12 minutes, AMR.

  3. Don't know if Nick's Twins Blog is an accepted source of material around these parts (He still links to SBG[dot]com), but I thought this was an interesting entry.

    If you don't care to read the whole thing, his message seems to be that Smith failed to really plan for either a Mauer injury or a Laddie failure at SS. I can't really argue with that.

    About the Twins lack of organizational depth at catcher, the part I found utterly depressing was this:

    Altogether, the Twins have gotten a .158/.206/.200 hitting line from the catcher position, including .111/.149/.159 from Mauer's replacements. For reference, National League pitchers have hit .133/.161/.161 this year.

    It's only one of the issues our boys have struggled with this year, but it's pretty much Yuck.

    I could probably live with that line if every other spot were healthy and productive. Problem is, they're not.
    Actually, I don't think I could live with that line. That is just plain awful.

    In our division, the backup catchers are:
    CLE - Marson: .250/.321/.375
    CHI - Castro: .240/.269./.400
    DET - Avila (who's now starting): .299/.337/.519
    KC - Pena: .238/.298/.357

    1. While I agree with his point about Laddie, looking at only offense for the catcher backup ignores the defense part. Your list of backup catchers is the first backup, right? Basically the other teams' equivalent of Butera. We know Butera is inept offensively, but he's pretty good at the defense part. I don't know enough about the other backups to determine how their defense rates.

      1. I agree, the Twins D has been subpar and it appears that Butters does an excellent job both defensively and calling games. You're also correct, we did know about his lack of offense. I guess I was thinking that a system that draws rave reviews like the Twins does should have a backup who's both defensively competent and can possibly hit at least the Mendoza line. I don't want a future all-star wasting away behind Mauer, but a combined .111 BA for the current catching corps is pretty bad.

        The other thing is, if you're going to have a no-hit backup catcher (career .175), I think you need to have some "make-up" offense coming from somewhere else on the bench. The Twins started the season with Repko (.226), Tolbert (.239), and Thome (.277)...only one of those guys has proven they can hit at this level but we're only allowed limited use of him. I know that no one foresaw the struggles of the rest of the squad, but man alive it is depressing to see whatever 7-9 hitter we've been trotting out lately come up when we really need a hit.

        1. I'm not sure how much is Butters, and how much is the pitchers, but the pitcher ERA has been pretty brutal since he's taken over as the every day catcher.

          He's way over his head as an every day player, but he's an acceptable once or twice a week guy. I assume this drop off is even more dramatic going from the best catcher in the AL to someone as putrid as Butera, but good gosh it's frustrating.

          1. And the pitchers are issuing walks like no one's business. If Butters was so all-fired good at calling a ballgame, he'd go out to the mound and kick some butt on a 3-0 count.

            1. If Butters was so all-fired good at calling a ballgame
              Nice turn of phrase there!

          2. The K/BB ratio is essentially the same between pitchers throwing to Mauer and Butera, but the Twins' ERA is about 1.50 worse throwing to Butera than Mauer.

            1. Well, we know why Mauer wasn't kicking any of his pitcher's butts -- bilateral leg weakness. What's Butters' excuse? Yeah right -- none!

          3. It's also SSS theater, and Butera's probably (almost certainly) not this bad in the long run.

        2. Actually, the middle infield is the only place I've found really lacking, other than perhaps first base, on defense. The outfield defense, other than Tosoni's unfortunate flop the other day, has been surprisingly good. Span has really looked good and Young, when healthy, and Kubel have held their own. Total Zone has Young 7! runs above average so far and Span at 8. Kubel is at 1. BIS has those three at 6, 6 and 0. Total Zone has the Twins at -2 runs for the season, so they've basically been average overall. It just seems worse with all the errors early in the season and some ugly plays at bad times in losses. In fact, because of his defense, Span is currently tied for fifth in the AL in rWAR. Kubel is tied for 17th. Looking down the list, Tolbert is the least valuable Twin, tied for 199th with Carl Crawford! with -0.7 rWAR. Of course, Crawford has more than twice as many PAs as Tolbert. Casilla, Tosoni, Repko, Nishioka, Holm and Cuddyer all have worse rWAR than Butera. The AL's least valuable player? Vernon Wells. And that doesn't even take into account his massive contract. Nice trade, Angels. Next on the list is Alex Rios and Magglio Ordonez. I can see why the AL Central is upside down.

          1. Looking down the list, Tolbert is the least valuable Twin, tied for 199th with Carl Crawford! with -0.7 rWAR. Of course, Crawford has more than twice as many PAs as Tolbert.

            so, you are saying that Tolbert has been more efficiently bad than Crawford???

    2. I read Nick's Twins Blog, along with most of what's linked off mngameday dee oh tee com, and he's usually got some pretty salient points without being too homerific or negative.

    3. His crap is as well-baked as anything around here. 🙂 Actually, he's one of the TwinsCentric guys at the STrib along with Seth Stohs, John Bonnes (Twins Geek) and Parker Hagerman. He leans to the negative side about as much as Seth leans to the positive side for a good counterbalance.

    4. I can't blame the Twins for not having a better backup at catcher. They only have so many resources to go around. Their goal is presumably to win the WS. If Mauer's not healthy, the odds of them winning the WS are slim anyway. If Mauer's clearly injured going into the fall and the Twins are in contention, they'd probably trade for a veteran backup on a non-playoff team. Had they spent $4-5M on a backup catcher over the offseason, they'd probably have been criticized for spending $29-30M or whatever on the catcher position.

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