Posted at 3:24 AM on May 5, 2005
by Josh Lee
Last night's Twins game against Cleveland came down to a two-out, bases-loaded, one-run-down situation -- the stuff that classics are made of. Or maybe just the same old same old. Nick Punto struck out to start the inning, but then M & M each reached on singles and were promptly replaced with pinch runners Luis Rivas and Jason Bartlett, players who are generally less prone to blowing out their knees or spontaneously concussing themselves. After Torii Hunter's foul fly was caught, Jacque "Patience" Jones drew a walk to load the bases, Rivas managed to avoid getting himself picked off, and the scene was set. Lew Ford came up to bat, and seeing all those swift runners in the field, just waiting for a chance to bolt, he promptly hit a line drive straight to the shortstop. Because that's what the Twins do these days when the bases are loaded.
Perversely, the Twins are 12th in the American League in batting average with bases loaded, but 1st in the AL in batting average with runners in scoring position. I'm no statistical expert -- really, I'm not even a statistical dilettante -- but the optimist in me likes to believe that this gap in the numbers suggests that Minnesota is thiiiis close to having a really good offense. If they could just learn to hit the ball somewhere other than to the shortstop with the bases loaded -- I hear shallow right field is nice -- they could probably win a few of those close games they keep losing. Perhaps the return of Terry Tiffee will make the difference.