Postgame: Walks turning into runs for Twins
- Blog Post by: Phil Miller
- April 13, 2014 - 7:16 PM
Stealing La Velle E. Neal III's format, here are three thoughts about the Twins' 4-3 win over Kansas City:
CORREIA DESERVED BETTER: Righthander Kevin Correia has been stellar in two of his three starts this season, but he still doesn't have a victory to show for it. The first one, in his April 2 debut at Chicago, was the fault of Minnesota's bullpen, which turned his 5-3 lead into a 7-6 loss. Sunday's no decision was his own fault, and he knows it; after Josmil Pinto's home run handed him a 2-0 lead in the seventh, Correia opened the eighth with a four-pitch walk to Mike Moustakas. "That's something that shouldn't happen," Correia said, especially since it was the beginning of a three-run rally. Lorenzo Cain singled, Alcides Escobar bunted, and Trevor Plouffe threw the ball into right field, ending Correia's good, but mildly disappointing, day.
AGGRESSIVELY NON-AGGRESSIVE: The Twins' on-base percentage has jumped from .312 as a team last year, 11th in the AL, to .342 this year, second in the league behind the White Sox. Their batting average is basically the same; the difference is enormous progress in their walk rate, from 3.3 per game in 2013 to 4.9 per game today. All those walks -- Minnesota has a league-leading 59 -- is a big reason why they lead the league in runs scored. But it's difficult for players to be too giddy about the trend; they are trained to collect hits, not walks, sabermetrics be damned. "We're an aggressive team, but it has to be controlled aggression. Know who's on the mound, where to look for one," Brian Dozier said. But he noted that the Twins' eighth-inning rally started with walks to Pedro Florimon (.067) and himself (.191), two guys who aren't hitting their way on base as much as they'd like. KC reliever Aaron Crow "threw me five breaking balls in a row, all in the dirt," Dozier said. "I might as well take them."
PINTO GETS HIS PITCH: Josmil Pinto may be a rookie, but he's no novice at the plate. Facing a veteran lefthander in Jason Vargas on Sunday, he saw mostly fastballs in drawing a second-inning walk, "and the second time, he showed me screwball and changeup," Pinto said. The Twins' DH hit into a double play, but learned what to look for in those two trips to the plate. When he came up in the seventh, "I tried to stay a little more relaxed, and think [about hitting] the other way," he said. But Vargas got behind right away, and "when you get 3-1 count, you've got to make some good contact." He looked for a fastball and pounced, sending the ball almost 400 feet into the left-field stands. An impressive adjustment.
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