Pitching and Defense

Game 48: Twins 2 (28-20), Rangers 1 (26-22)

You can’t turn on the local broadcast of the Twins these days without hearing about the team’s defense. An extremely low error total is given as evidence that the Twins are the best defensive team in the game. The announcers added the meme on Friday night that the Twins don’t just make the routine plays, they make the spectacular plays as well.

The truth is that the Twins may have the best infield defense in the game, and error total is just a small part of that which means little independent of range. The outfield is a mess, particularly in the corners, so calling the team as a whole the best defensive team is inaccurate.

No matter, the Twins used pitching and defense to defeat the leaders of the AL West in the first of a three game series at Target Field. The infield in particular shined, helping Kevin Slowey to his best start of the season. When Slowey faltered in the seventh inning, Jose Mijares was there to get his biggest out of the year. Guerrier and Rauch pitched a scoreless inning to cap off the 2-1 victory.

The pitching staff in total allowed a single walk and struck out seven Rangers. The offense did enough this time around, and actually had a run taken away by a bad call at first base.

WPA Stars of the Game
1. Kevin Slowey
2. Jon Rauch
3. Jose Mijares

AL Central Standings
1. Min 28-20, 232-185, –
2. Det 25-22, 210-208, 2.5
3. Chi 21-27, 197-225, 7.0
4. KC 21-28, 223-247, 7.5
5. Cle 17-29, 175-229, 10.0

The FOX game on Saturday will feature Carl Pavano against CJ Wilson. It will also feature lots of positive talk about Target Field, but maybe lighter on the comparisons with the Metrodome than the local broadcasters (and less likely to fawn over the novelty of outdoor baseball). I suspect there will be a mention of the best defensive team in baseball, how the Twins do the little things right, etc.

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