Monday, May 24, 2010

Loaded with small sample sizes

Jason Kubel said it Saturday after the Twins blew a big lead and came back to win the game in extra innings:

Keep getting guys on base and it'll work out.

It didn't work out Sunday; the Twins left 14 men on and lost 4-3. On Saturday, they left 17 men on but won.

So the coverage now has taken a predictable turn. The Twins lack "killer instinct." They fail in the clutch.

From the Strib's LaVelle Neal:

The Twins have some disturbing offensive statistics that can't be brushed off as a small sample size for much longer.

They entered Sunday batting .177 with the bases loaded — 29th in the majors — and went 0-for-3 on Sunday to drop to .169. They have had 65 at-bats with the bases loaded in 44 games. The league average with the bases loaded is .298. Just hitting closer to the league average would turn close games into blowouts and losses into a few more victories.

Memo to Mr. Neal: Sixty-five at-bats is indeed a small sample size. (It's actually 82 plate appearances, but hey, if you ignore the bases loaded walks and sac flies, you can make the situation look worse than it is.)

Yeah, they haven't hit well with the bases loaded — so far. It's not a sign of moral inferiority any more than the Twins' otherworldly performance with men in scoring position in 2008‚ when they hit almost 20 points above their total average with men on base, was a sign of superiority.

This RBI fixation is irritating. Kubel is right: Keep getting on base, and it will work out. Sixty-five cherry-picked at-bats out of a sea of 1,523 (to date) mean very little.

That the Twins, a third of the way through the season, are about half way to last season's count of such opportunities strikes me as more significant.

1 comment:

  1. Who would expect that a country boy from South Dakota would be smarter than all of the Strib Scribes combined?