Friday October 1, 2004
Twins Thoughts and Matchups
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Yesterday, Cubs starter Mark Prior struck out Reds OF Adam Dunn in his first two at bats. Why is this significant? With that second strikeout, Dunn broke the single-season strikeout record with his 191st strikeout. The previous record holder was Bobby Bonds, who struck out 189 times in 1970.
This is one of those records, like 20 losses, that no one really wanted. Jose Hernandez sat out ten late-season games because he did not want to set the record (he fell one behind). But you have to admire Mike Maroth for continuing to pitch after his 19th loss. And, you have to admire Adam Dunn for staying in the Reds lineup every day even as he was approaching the Bonds record.
But Adam Dunn is having a very good year. That is why he is in the Reds lineup every day. That is why he is high in the NL Home Run leader board this season. Dunn has played in 157 of the Red 159 games so far. He is hitting .264/.387/.564 with 32 doubles, 45 home runs and 101 RBI. He has also walked 107 times in his 664 plate appearances. So, that equates to one walk every 6.2 plate appearances and one strikeout every 3.5 plate appearances. But when he continues to produce when he does put the ball in play, the strikeouts become very acceptable.
It was said that Mike Maroth must be a pretty decent pitcher to continue starting despite all those losses. Can the same be said for hitters who strike out a lot? Let's take a look at the top 10 (or, 11) strikeout seasons by a hitter and see if the guys were worth keeping in the lineup or not:
Year Player Team Strikeouts Walks PA/K PA/BB 2B HR RBI Avg OBP SLG
2004 Adam Dunn Reds 191 107 3.5 6.2 32 45 101 .264 .387 .564
1970 Bobby Bonds Giants 189 77 3.9 9.6 36 26 78 .302 .372 .504
2002 Jose Hernandez Brewers 188 52 3.1 11.1 24 24 73 .288 .352 .478
1969 Bobby Bonds Giants 187 81 3.8 8.7 25 32 90 .259 .351 .473
2000 Preston Wilson Marlins 187 55 3.5 12.0 35 31 121 .264 .331 .486
1987 Rob Deer Brewers 186 86 3.0 6.5 15 28 80 .238 .360 .456
2001 Jose Hernandez Brewers 185 39 3.1 14.5 26 25 78 .249 .301 .443
1986 Pete Incaviglia Rangers 185 55 3.2 10.8 21 30 88 .250 .320 .463
2001 Jim Thome Indians 185 111 3.4 5.7 26 49 124 .291 .416 .624
1990 Cecil Fielder Tigers 182 90 3.6 7.4 25 51 131 .277 .377 .592
2003 Jim Thome Phillies 182 111 3.8 6.2 30 47 131 .266 .385 .573
I think that there is an interesting list of names here. First, I wanted to compare Adam Dunn's walk numbers to other big strikeout seasons. Really, his patience only compares to that of Jim Thome. Bobby Bonds walks by far the least per plate appearances, mainly because he got a lot of at bats and few walks. Rob Deer struck out a lot, and Jose Hernandez struck out the most frequently. Is it a Brewers thing? But, if you look at the power numbers of these hitters, the numbers really are very solid. Bonds actually hit .300 in 1970. Four of these seasons resulted in 40 or more homers.
Basically, this chart doesn't say a lot. It really just says that a player can strikeout out a lot and still have an incredibly productive season. Adam Dunn has the record. Maybe it is a dubious record, but his ability to handle it well and still produce and remain patient and not change his style really say a lot about him and his future.
Seth's Thoughts - I like watching hitters who put together good, solid at bats. Guys that take balls but also will hack away at some strikes. Walks are boring to watch, but can be important. I guess I prefer the guys that walk more than strikeout more (Gary Sheffield, Brian Giles, Shannon Stewart, Jason Kubel) I realize that a strikeout is just an out, just like a pop out or ground out. However, I am one who does believe in productive outs, and would rather have a single than a walk in most situations. However, I definitely agree that a player who strikes out a lot can still be productive!
What do you think? E-mail me.
TWINS THOUGHTS AND MATCHUPS
The Twins fell again last night to the New York Yankees. Bernie Williams launched an Aaron Fultz home run over the left-center field wall and just above the famous Yankee monuments. The win gave the Yankees the AL East title. It also may have assure that the Twins will not have home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. With losses by the Twins and the Angels, and an A's win, all three teams are tied for that 2nd seed. The Twins are in the playoffs. The Red Sox have clinched the Wild Card. So basically, the A's and Angels will spend the weekend determining the final participant in this year's postseason baseball tournament!
So, the Yankees swept the Twins in this three-game series, but all three games were close (Yankees won three games by a combined four runs). The Twins played again without Shannon Stewart who is nursing a hamstring. Cristian Guzman actually got a day off due to a sore neck. Augie Ojeda stepped in and continued to impress me. Justin Morneau hit his 19th home run. I thought he had another one, but Gary Sheffield caught it at the wall. Torii Hunter hit his 23rd homer. I don't know how he did it either. He hit a high, moving fastball off the right field foul pole. The swing just looked funny, but hey, it worked! Henry Blanco continues to not hit well, except when it really seems to matter. Whatever you believe about the word "clutch" and how it applies to baseball, you have to at least admit that he has come up with some big hits for the Twins. Brad Radke, like Johan Santana the day before, was limited to 5 innings. He gave up two runs and worked himself out of some tough situations. I think he's ready for the playoffs. JC Romero pitched yet again. I don't know if they're trying to throw him every day so that his arm hurts and he settles down and actually pitches well? I don't get why he keeps being put in the game! First, he's not good. Second, he doesn't get lefties out. Third, he pitches too much! Juan Rincon pitches far too much too. His arm is scheduled to fall off in about June of 2006. However, he is very good. In 2 innings, he struck out 5!
So, how are the Twins looking heading into the playoffs, probably against the Yankees? Well, despite this sweep, the Twins look good. Johan Santana and Brad Radke are ready and will be able to give seven or eight innings. Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan are ready in the bullpen. Carlos Silva will be just fine. So, pitching staff-wise, I think they'll be just fine as long as Gardy doesn't go too far into his bullpen! Offensively, they're just fine. Stewart will be back at 100% Hunter has been hitting well. Morneau provides something they need. Ford and Cuddyer are ready. Will they score a plethora of runs? Probably not. WIll they hit a lot of homers? Probably not. But the Twins have some good hitters. And, assuming their starters give them a chance, I don't think that the Twins need to be intimidated in the least!
The schedule makers must be proud! The A's and Angels start a three game series in Oakland tonight. Whichever team wins two games will go to the playoffs. The other, will go home. The Western Division winner, in either case, has the tie-breakers over the Twins, so the Twins need to hope that this series goes 2-1 and that they can sweep the Indians at home this weekend.
We can hope, but I have to be honest, I almost hope that the Twins don't get home field advantage in the first round. You see, I have tickets to the playoffs. If the Twins get home field, they will play at the Dome on Tuesday and Wednesday. Living so far from the cities, I will have to take a lot of time off of work. If the Twins get the #3 seed, they will have a home game next Friday and maybe Saturday as well. That will be much easier for me to attend!
But first things first. Let's look at the matchups for this weekends two big series:
Anaheim Angels at Oakland A's
Tonight - 9:05 - Bartolo Colon (17-12, 5.19, 1.41, .270) vs Mark Mulder (17-7, 4.31, 1.34, .261)
Saturday - 3:05 - Kelvim Escobar (11-12, 3.86, 1.28, .243) vs Barry Zito (11-11, 4.54, 1.42, .268)
Sunday - 3:05 - Jarrod Washburn (11-8, 4.64, 1.33, .269) vs Tim Hudson (12-6, 3.57, 1.29, .271)
Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins
Tonight - 7:10 - Terry Mulholland (5-9, 5.34, 1.62, .330) vs Scott Elarton (3-5, 4.64, 1.28, .242)
Saturday - 11:10 - Carlos Silva (14-8, 4.16, 1.42, .308) vs Jake Westbrook (14-9, 3.28, 1.24, .249)
Sunday - 1:10 - JD Durbin (0-1, 7.36, 2.45, .387) vs Cliff Lee (13-8, 5.55, 1.53, .271)
On Sunday, everything will be clear. We will know the tournament brackets and the games will begin. There will be no tie-breakers in the American League. The National League? Who knows?! What a mess!
What do you think? Am I completely wrong? Do I make any sense? E-mail me.
Ichiro had one hit yesterday and is one hit behind George Sisler's 85 season hit record of 257 hits.
The Mariners will host the Texas Rangers over the weekend, so Ichiro will take his hacks against the likes of Ryan Drese, Kenny Rogers, Chan Ho Park and the Rangers bullpen.
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
Another week and more football games. It's never quite the same making my picks when the Vikings are on their bye week. It's not as easy to get up for the games. But I figure it is about time for me to start catching up to our leaders! As you can see, we are still awaiting the selections of a couple of our contestants, but they will be added when they are received. Here are this week's picks:
Seth Stohs Melissa Olson Ben Jacobs Aaron Gleeman John Bonnes Ryan Maus SethSpeaks.net SethSpeaks.net Hardball Times Aaron's BB Blog Twins Geek Twins Chatter Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh Bengals Steelers Steelers Steelers Bengals Steelers Indianapolis @ Jacksonville Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Oakland @ Houston Raiders Texans Raiders Texans Texans Raiders New England @ Buffalo Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Philadelphia @ Chicago Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Washington @ Cleveland Redskins Browns Redskins Redskins Redskins Browns NY Giants @ Green Bay Packers Packers Packers Packers Packers Packers Atlanta @ Carolina Panthers Panthers Panthers Panthers Panthers Panthers New Orleans @ Arizona Saints Saints Cardinals Saints Cardinals Saints NY Jets @ Miami Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets Tennessee @ San Diego Titans Chargers Titans Titans Titans Titans Denver @ Tampa Bay Broncos Bucs Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos St. Louis @ San Francisco Rams Rams 49ers Rams 49ers Rams Kansas City @ Baltimore Chiefs Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Michael Labuda David Bergner David Bloom Vic Quick Mike Brasel Jeremy Kovash ChiSox Daily Baseball Savant Ya Gotta Believe KDUH-Sports Fantasy FB Guru Wolf Lake Mgr Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers Indianapolis @ Jacksonville Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Oakland @ Houston Raiders Raiders Raiders Texans Raiders Raiders New England @ Buffalo Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Philadelphia @ Chicago Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Washington @ Cleveland Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins Browns Redskins NY Giants @ Green Bay Packers Packers Packers Packers Packers Packers Atlanta @ Carolina Falcons Falcons Panthers Panthers Panthers Panthers New Orleans @ Arizona Saints Cardinals Saints Saints Cardinals Saints NY Jets @ Miami Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets Tennessee @ San Diego Chargers Titans Titans Titans Titans Titans Denver @ Tampa Bay Broncos Bucs Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos St. Louis @ San Francisco Rams 49ers Rams Rams Rams Rams Kansas City @ Baltimore Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens
On that note, have yourself a great weekend! As always, please feel free to e-mail me about anything you've read here, or well, anything.
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