I watched tonight's loss against the Angels over at my folks' place with my dad. It's odd that a son ends up shaping his father's views on baseball, but through continued exposure to my griping, my old man has joined the dark side and is now just as mildly annoyed with the collection of replacement-level slap-hitters the Twins try to foist on their fans as major league hitters on a daily basis. (How's that for a run-on?)
I wasn't really bothered by tonight's loss. Pat Neshek left two fastballs up and paid the price with three runs being driven in on those two pitches. Neshek has been stellar this season and everyone is entitled to a bad night. My father, on the other hand, faulted Nick Puta, who missed Mauer's one-hop throw to third on the Willits-Figgins double steal (despite Mauer being charged with the error in accordance with the technicalities of the scoring rule). My father's point of view was that if Puta isn't in the game to play solid, if not exceptional, defense than what business does he have staying in the major leagues?
It got me thinking. Why do a lot of Twins fans cheer for these horrible, punchless hitters? You know what the Piranhas really do? They give guys like Matt Garza a 1-3 record to go along with a 1.70 ERA.
As horrible as Puta has been, was worse is that the Twins have stooped to using Jason Tyner as their DH in 17 different games! Jason Tyner. At a position where there are absolutely no defensive requirements and a player's entire worth is his production at the plate. Tyner responded with a .218/.295/.255 line in those 17 games (.550 OPS). Here are the OPS leaders among major league pitchers with at least 10 plate appearances:
Better Than Tyner as DH (+.550 OPS):
1. J.D. "The Real Deal" Durbin - 13 PA/.818 OPS
2. Jo Jo Reyes - 10/.750
3. Adam Wainwright - 50/.700
4. Kip Wells - 42/.683
5. Brad Penny - 55/.682
6. Carlos Zambrano - 65/.639
7. Bobby Livingston - 26/.636
8. Aaron Cook - 60/.629
9. Micah Owings - 39/.626
10. Chris Capuano - 39/.598
11. Kyle Davies - 30/.596
12. Freddie Garcia - 22/.594
13. Jorge Sosa - 29/.588
14. Tom Glavine - 57/.581
Better Than Nick Puta (+.520 OPS)
15. Shawn Chacon - 13/.545
16. Matt Morris - 50/.542
17. Braden Looper - 43/.525
Crap! The Twins were fools to place Durbin on waivers! He could have been their DH. (Hey, don't laugh, it's not any more idiotic than playing Tyner there...)
The Twins, as an organization, don't understand offense. Their first round draft pick this past June doesn't even weight 160 pounds. Their manager speaks of terrible, punchless slap hitters as being able to "do things with the bat". The homer beat writers are too gutless to follow that statement up by asking if any of those "things" are baseball related. The Pirhanas even get their own television commercials and the fans get a third place team as a result. You can't pack a line-up four-to-five deep with guys that can't punish mistakes and expect to contend.
Is anyone else getting annoyed?
(If you plan on making excuses on behalf of the Twins in the comments section, please avoid the trite and ridiculous claim that the Twins can't afford power and on-base guys as a small market team. Oakland's market is just as small as Minnesota's and further worsened by the fact that the A's fan base has the lowest per-capita income in baseball. But they're the same organization that spawned the bash brothers, Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada and others. And small or large market, the Twins are the only team to just come off a 20-year 30-homerun hitter drought, and it would have been an even longer drought if major league baseball hadn't moved the manufacture of their baseballs from Hati to the Dominican Republic in 1987, touching off a noticeable spike in homeruns league-wide.)