Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
Even when Bill Hall was good, he was never that good. He's in his ninth major league season and hit almost one-third of his 107 career home runs in one year (35 in 2006). He's a liability in the field and has a career OPS+ of 93, a statistic is which 100 is average. Also, during his career, he's struck out on 0-and-2 pitches or 1-and-2 pitches almost 58 percent of the time and, putting the ball in play on those counts, he has 31 RBI and a .127 average.
By comparison, Michael Cuddyer -- the Twins' team leader in strikeouts in 2006, 2008 and 2009 (his last three full seasons) -- has struck out in 43 percent of those situations and has 48 more RBI than Hall in only 10 more career at-bats.
Bringing the comparison closer to God, Joe Mauer has twice as many 0-and-2 and 1-and-2 RBI as Hall (62) in 193 fewer at-bats. Mauer, by the way, strikes out on 0-and-2 or 1-and-2 pitches 24 percent of the time. Consider that the platimum standard.
(Yes, these numbers are making my brain hurt, but sometimes you have to go this route. We'll visit the hyberbolic chamber soon.)
In other words, Scott Baker gave up with turned out to be the game-winning hit on a 1-and-2 count to a guy who had about as much chance to succeed against him as (fill in your favorite stiff here).
Watching the replay, FSN analyst Roy Smalley said the problem with the pitch was its location.
In other words, there are 100 holes in Hall's swing and Baker managed to miss all of 'em.
Baker pitched just well enough to lose. The Twins gave him a 1-0 lead in the fourth and, three batters later, David Ortiz homered to put the Red Sox up 2-1. There's little shame in giving up a home run to Ortiz, who's super-hot this month.
But Bill Hall?
The other good point made by the FSN crew was Baker's slippage the second time through an opposing batter order so far this season -- .257 OBP in the first three innings, .402 in innings four through six. That speaks to problems adjusting.
OK, I've used up my allotment of numbers for the week -- if not the month.
Bill Hall will make me do that.
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