Twins: Serious Pain


It’s all gone wrnog!

I have an email friend who is a baseball fan, and when her daughter was very young, she (the daughter, not the friend) conflated “serious” and “series” (as in “World Serious”). It’s one of those great things kids sometimes say that sticks with you because it’s so perfect. Baseball series are serious, and none more so than the World Serious.

When I manage to come up with one, I delight in having puns in my post titles, and now you’ll understand the one used here. The Minnesota Twins just finished a three-game serious against division rival the Cleveland Indians, and it was an extraordinarily painful one. Seriously painful.

How bad was it? So bad. So very, very bad.

The pain was so awful that I’m not going to make nice tables for the numbers. I’m just going to dump some text tables through <pre> elements, because I just can’t bear to make such ugliness pretty.

Here’s the combined box score for all three games:

|BOX| 1| 2| 3| 4| 5| 6| 7| 8| 9| | R| H| E|
|Min| 1| 0| 6| 3| 1| 2| 0| 0| 2| |15|27| 0|
|Cle| 3| 4|12| 5| 5| 1| 0| 4| 0| |34|47| 1|

The first thing is the 1534 run difference. The Indians scored over twice as many runs as the Twins! They almost had twice as many hits. A tiny consolation is that the Twins committed no errors. Whee!


Yet another Cleveland run.

The second thing that stands out is the damage done by Cleveland in the third inning.

Over the three days, no Twins starting pitcher made it through the fourth inning! In fact, only one made it into the fourth inning.

The Twins did a little bit of damage themselves in the third, but only half as much and didn’t do well in most other innings.

The end result was we managed (barely) to win one game, lost two (one of which was really painful), and the Twins are now below .500 for the first time since May 1. Oh, the pain!

Next up, the batting:

|Batting| AVG| OBP| SLG| OPS | ISO| R/G |  K% |
|game #1|.366|.395|.732|1.127|.366|10.00|33.33|
|game #2|.273|.333|.545| .878|.272| 4.00|18.18|
|game #3|.103|.133|.172| .305|.069| 1.00|33.33|
|overall|.262|.303|.515| .818|.253| 5.00|27.27|
|season |.247|.301|.397| .698|.150| 4.19|20.56|
|season |.251|.322|.388| .710|.137| 3.98|18.94|

First is a break-down by game. The overall is all three games rolled up. The season row provides the Twins’ YTD numbers as a baseline comparison. The bottom two rows show the Indians’ batting over the serious as well as their season baseline.

Then there was the pitching. Oh, my, yes, the pitching:

|Pitchin| IP | ER| H | HR| K | BB| ERA | WHIP|
|game #1| 9.0|  9| 14|  1|  9|  3| 9.00| 1.89|
|game #2| 8.0| 17| 19|  2|  4|  8|19.13| 3.38| 
|game #3| 8.0|  8| 14|  1|  5|  1| 9.00| 1.88|
|overall|25.0| 34| 47|  4| 18| 12|12.24| 2.36|
|Indians|27.0| 15| 27|  5| 30|  6| 5.00| 1.22|

As with the batting table, the first three rows show the pitching stats. These include both starters and relievers. The overall row again rolls up all three games. The final row shows the Indians’ pitching stats over the three games.

The bulk of the serious pain came from our starting pitchers. All three of them. Veteran pitchers all. Guys we were relying on in our hour of pain to help the team get back on its feet.

Here’s what we got instead:

| =SP=  | IP | ER| H | HR| K | BB| ERA | WHIP|
|Pelfrey| 3.2|  7| 10|  0|  2|  1|17.18| 3.00|
|Santana| 2.1|  8| 10|  0|  1|  2|30.86| 5.14| 
|Hughes | 3.0|  7|  9|  1|  2|  1|21.00| 3.33|
|totals | 9.0| 22| 29|  1|  5|  4|22.00| 3.67|

Not one of them made it through the fourth inning. Santana didn’t make it through the third! [A note about Innings Pitched (IP). The fractional part is — believe it or not — base three! So “0.1” means one-third of an inning, and “0.2” means two-thirds. Innings have three outs, and the thirds are based on outs. Note that a pitcher might pitch to multiple batters between outs.]

Santana pain

Santana really struggled!

The ERA and WHIP numbers are astronomically bad! They represent complete and utter failure on the mound. Our starters had no control of their pitches. They were throwing, not pitching.

Put it this way: ERA and WHIP should be as low as possible. ERA is the runs a pitcher would give up pitching all nine innings. WHIP is the number of walks+hits given up per inning.

With ERA, zero would be phenomenal. An ERA below 2.00 is ace (below 1.00 is super-ace), 3.xx is excellent, 4.xx is good-to-fair. Above 5.00 is bad, and above 6.00 is really bad. Above 9.00 is “doesn’t belong in the Majors,” so you can see how awful it was.

With WHIP, below 1.00 is very good, 1.xx is Major League. Above 2.00 is a problem. Above 3.00 is a serious problem. So, again, you can see how awful it was.

Our bullpen wasn’t great, especially in game #2, but for having done most of the pitching, they were just very not-good (rather than god-awful):

| =BP=  | IP | ER| H | HR| K | BB| ERA | WHIP|
|game #1| 5.1|  2|  4|  1|  7|  2| 3.38| 1.13|
|game #2| 5.2|  9|  9|  2|  3|  6|14.30| 2.65| 
|game #3| 5.0|  1|  5|  0|  3|  0| 1.80| 1.00|
|totals |16.0| 12| 18|  3| 13|  8| 6.75| 1.63|

Starting pitchers are the one supposed to go at least five innings, but you hope for six or seven. You normally expect relievers to pitch one or two, three on the outside. Instead, our bullpen had to work five+ innings.

Game #2 was especially a disaster. Twins lost that one 417! Manager Paul Molitor brought in five relief pitchers and had to end the game by having a position player (Shane Robinson) pitch! (And as so often happens, he did very well. Walked one, struck out one, and got three outs without giving up a hit, let alone a run.)

One last table. This shows Batting versus Pitching:

|  BvP  |  H% |  R% | HR% |  K% | BB% |
|Batting|24.55|13.64| 4.55|27.27| 5.45|
|Pitchin|35.34|25.56| 3.01|13.53| 9.02|
|SP     |50.00|37.93| 1.72| 8.62| 6.90|
|BP     |24.00|16..3| 4.00|17.33|10.67|
|diff   |10.76|11.92|+1.54|13.74| 3.57|

This one is a little more esoteric. The numbers are percentages of hits, runs, home runs, strike outs (K), and walks (BB). For batters, it’s per Plate Appearance (PA). For pitchers, it’s Batters Faced (BF).

Pelfrey pain

Mike Pelfrey melted down in game #1, but we did win that one. By one run, 10-9.

The SP and BP rows break out the pitching by starting pitchers and bullpen. The diff row is the difference between batters and (all) pitchers. About the only good news there is we did better hitting homers (by one: our five to their four).

The key thing is our hittin’ was worse than our pitchin’ allowed the Indians hittin’.

One nasty stat is the 27% strikeout rate. Another is that our starting pitchers gave up hits to half the batters they faced!

All in all, a complete disaster. If they don’t get better in a hurry, the season is over. We’re below .500, we’re 11.5 games behind the first place KC Royals, only one game ahead of the third place Detroit Tigers, and that wildcard slot is long gone. We’re ninth place in the American League and sixteenth place in the MLB.

The pain is serious!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

8 responses to “Twins: Serious Pain

  • reocochran

    I like your friend’s daughter’s conflated words. This painful title tied in well with the exchange of “serious” for “series,” Smitty. Kids have often done this sort of thing and years later, it brings families to the point of giggles about it.

    My Grandpa used to ask, “Do you want a sock on the jaw or a sock on the foot?” My literal thinking brother would say, “I don’t want you to hit my face.” Same brother would reply to his statement, “Put up your dukes. (My pacifist grandfather demonstrating with fists rolled up), “These aren’t my dukes!”

    So, I could not think of any other cute family substitutions. Maybe “s’getti” for spaghetti but almost every kid I have met between ages 3 to 5 says this.

    I am sort of sorry for my team, the Cleveland Indians, “beating the socks off your team.” I really prefer games where the scores are closer.

    Too bad you are not “for” the Red Sox and this would become relevant or funny. I liked your creative use of looking at a Twins decal from the other side. 🙂

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Oh, no need to apologize for beating us. All’s fair in love and baseball, you know! Enjoy the win! Indians are in last place this year.

      As for the Red Sox, among the AL-East teams, they’re usually my pick. I’ll always root against the damn Yankees, and I have no real feelings about the Blue Jays or (Devil) Rays one way or the other. (I am smarting a little over the ass-kicking we got from the Jays, but hey, it’s baseball.) That leaves the Orioles, a team I definitely favor, too. If it were down to the O’s and the Bo-Sox, I’d… pick… gee… I guess the O’s.

      In the AL-East, it’s gotta be the Rangers, just because of my baseball friend in Texas.

      In the NL, it’s Dodgers out west, for sure, since I lived in Los Angeles so many years, really anyone but the Cardinals in the Central (although I’d love to see the Cubs do well), and out east… hmmm… not the Braves, usually the Nats, but as someone born in NYC, I’d love the Mets to go all the way.

      And both the Cubs and Mets haven’t been too bad this year. Mets are in first place (Go Mets!), although the Cubs have fallen back. I’d be okay with the Pirates, too. (Just not the damned Cards again. Please!)

  • rarasaur

    The World Serious. *giggles* That’s brilliant.

  • charmarie221

    She still says it. Even for less serious seriouses, she’ll say things like “even if we lose the game tomorrow, we still won the serious” or “It’s about time we swept the whole serious.” It’s so subtle most people probably don’t catch it. I just smile.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Well, I think it’s great that any kid is taking such a great interest in baseball! Sadly, interest seems to be declining (not so much for the home team, but for the sport in general).

      Does she know she’s playing with words at this point — doing it intentionally?

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