Game Recap #113: Zero Heroes 0, Odotcos 3

Nothing from nothing.

It has been observed several times in the past that the Twins have a very poor record in games in which they score zero runs.  Their bad luck in such games continued last night, as they lost 3-0.  You'd think the law of averages would take over at some point, and they'd win a few of those games, but it hasn't happened yet.  Their only threat of the game came in the sixth, when they got a pair of leadoff singles (their first two hits of the game) and a two-out walk.  From the game log, I'm guessing that Dozier hit a loud foul before walking, although I wouldn't know--I had long since gone to bed by then.

Since I didn't see much of the game, and since I can't come up with much to talk about by looking at the box score, let's look at something else.  Let's address the matter of hitting with runners in scoring position, or clutch hitting for short.  There's the whole question of whether clutch hitting is even a thing, whether some batters are truly better than others at hitting in the clutch or if it's just a random product of small sample sizes.  Let's just suppose, for the sake of supposing, that clutch hitting does exist.  How would you go about teaching it?

Could there be a way?  I don't see how.  You could teach batters things like using the whole field, being selective at the plate, what to do when you get a certain pitch in a certain spot, but those are things that would make you a better hitter generally, not specifically a better clutch hitter.  How would you teach clutch hitting?  Practice breathing techniques so the batter would be more relaxed and focused at the plate?  Hire a psychologist to work on visualization and have the batter picture himself lining a ball into the gap?  How would you teach clutch hitting?

Because if you can't teach it, then even if it does exist, the Twins should quit harping on it.  It's not helping.  If anything, it's making the problem worse by putting it in batters heads how bad they are at hitting with men on base.  They get overanxious, they try too hard in those situations, and they do even worse than they've been.

It seems like, instead of complaining about it, why not try a positive approach?  Why, for example, after Wednesday's game, couldn't Gardy say something like, "I have confidence in my guys.  Hey, we've been getting lots of runners on base.  We got fourteen at-bats with men in scoring position.  I guarantee you that if we keep getting fourteen at-bats with men in scoring position, we're going to score a ton of runs pretty soon."  Complaining about it isn't doing any good.  So quit doing it.

Anyway, the Twins try to get back on the winning track tonight, as they send Kyle Gibson out to the mound against Scott Kazmir.  After a few years of wandering in the wilderness, Kazmir seems to have gotten back to being the pitcher he was with Tampa Bay.  In fact, he's signifcantly better than that, as he's having best season of his career.  No matter.  We have forty-nine games left, and you know what that means:  forty-nine game winning streak!  We'll just have to settle for 100-62!

3 thoughts on “Game Recap #113: Zero Heroes 0, Odotcos 3”

  1. To be fair to the Twins batters last night, John Lester was dealing. Yes, Dozier came thiiiiiiiiiis close to a home run (I think the breeze of the ball going by th epole scraped some paint) but it was just one o those nights you tip your hat to th epitcher and win the next game.

    1. Oh, I fully agree. When I went to bed in the third inning, I was thinking that I might wake up to hear he'd pitched a no-hitter.

  2. If it's making things worse by getting in their heads, than maybe you teach it by keeping out of their heads. Maybe meditation or something? Maybe when those hot young subcontinental prospects make it to the majors, they can teach a thing or two. (Though I would have thought there would be enough latent Buddhist culture in Japan or Korea to make their players more versed in preventing skull-squatting. Ichiro! maybe, but Nishi? no.)
    If the Twins org is making things bad by harping on it, then someone could make it better. The players are at least somewhat responsible for their performance, so at least somewhat deserving of the harpage.

    I don't know what's the case, just feeling out the logical implications of your thoughts here. (And adding my own diversion.)

Comments are closed.