Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Taking a Look at the Twins Hot Streak

     A good word to describe the Twins season a week into it would be miserable. Actually, that can't even describe it. It's more like numbness. The season had barely begun and it was already over. Ervin Santana was suspended, Torii suddenly looked like a 70-year-old man, Mike Pelfrey and Ricky Nolasco both had large roles on the team, the advanced stat guys were smugly declaring Danny Santana's 2014 campaign a product of BABIP. Then suddenly, they turned it all around, scoring runs keeping their opponents from scoring, two things that have been noticeably absent from the team the last few years.
     The biggest surprise this season has been Mike Pelfrey, who has been nothing short of atrocious his entire Twins career. This year has been slightly different. In 27 innings pitched, Pelfrey has a 2.63 ERA. Part of that is the fact that he's getting outs at important times. That may sound like a generic statement, but the stats back it up. His left on base percentage is 83.3%, over 20% more than last year. He's also throwing his split-fingered fastball 11.5% more often, creating 12.4% more groundballs than last season
     Pelfrey's one of the few players whose main improvement is from last year to this year, most of the players are doing well after miserable beginnings to the season. Most notably doing better than they were at the start are Danny Santana and Torii Hunter. The duo had a Drungo Hazewood-like beginning of the season: 2-28 with nine strikeouts. In May they're hitting .452. Hunter, in particular is on a tear. He's hit safely in eight of his last nine games, hitting .368 during that stretch
     The biggest question with this 11-3 run is is it sustainable? For much of it, the answer's no. During all this the Twins have scored 6.7 runs per game, something they obviously can't keep up over the season. On the other hand, while I'm skeptical Pelfrey can keep this up, their rotation will improve when Molitor inevitably gives Nolasco the ax either because he sucks or Ervin Santana coming back, followed by Nolasco complaining about it, trying to figure out why a team wouldn't start a guy with an ERA of 9.00, and replaces him with Milone, who was pretty good before he inexplicably got sent down to Rochester last week.
     The Twins have a decent chance at continuing this. Obviously not the seven runs a game or winning 11 out every 11 games, but they'll be competitive. I haven't even mentioned Eddie Rosario yet, and the impact he'll have, or the fact that Vargas is just waking up right now. Whatever happens,  We already know this: It'll be better or at the very least more interesting than last year.

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