Thursday, July 2, 2009

And on the 10th day they rested

A 6-3 road trip isn't shabby, and now the Twins get to rest their aches and pains a day before taking on the first-place Detroit Tigers.

A new notes and numbers:

* Joe Mauer's 3-for-3 performance Thursday lifted his batting average nine points (.392). It says something about him that he hit .353 for the month of June and it still feels disappointing.

*Carlos Gomez (above, with Michael Cuddyer) started the last two games of the Kansas City series, with Delmon Young on the bench. Neither is hitting much, but Go-Go is far better in the field, so that's the preferable alignment — although it must be pointed out that Denard Span hit just .208 in June. This bears watching.

As for Gomez: His walk rate this year is almost double last season's, suggesting that he's being more selective. But his pitches seen per plate appearance is down, suggesting that he's being less patient. What I think the combination means is fewer swings-and-misses.

*Glen Perkins may be evolving into a different pitcher, one with a better long-range future. His strikeout rate is still marginal at best, and actually down slightly from last season, but he's walking about half as many hitters as he did in 2008. And he's getting more ground balls. He's always been a pronounced fly ball pitcher; this season it's essentially one grounder per fly.

A flyball pitcher with walks and few Ks has a limited future; a lefty who limits walks and gets grounders can thrive without a high strikeout rate.



    To answer your theory, Gomez does have fewer swing-and-misses, but just marginally (0.2%). His major improvement has been swinging at fewer out of zone pitches, but his out of zone contact has also decreased.