Monday, June 1, 2015

The defense-offense trade off

The Monday print column grapples with a seeming oxymoron: The Twins improved their defense by sending their designated hitter to the minors.

Consider the Twins' opponent this weekend. Toronto played Chris Colabello, the erstwhile Twin, in left field all three games. The Jays know this is suboptimal, but Jose Bautista has been limited to the DH role by injury. The Jays would doubtless rather have Bautista in the outfield and Colabello either at DH or first base (with Edwin Encarnacion at DH), but they are working with what they have,

Colabello's bat helped the Jays beat the Twins on Friday night; he homered in the ninth off Glen Perkins to break a tie. On Sunday, Colabello's outfielding inadequacies cost the Jays three runs in a game they lost by one.

Win by the Colabello, lose by the Colabello. Certainly the Jays calculate that Colabello's bat -- and he has hit extremely well -- makes up for his fielding. The flip side of it is that his lack of range in left field adds to the stress on their pitching staff.

The Jays lead the American League in runs scored, and it isn't close. They're also, barely, last in runs allowed. They may be inclined to believe that's all on the pitching staff. It isn't.

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