The Twins finished the 2012 season in last place in the AL Central division with a 66-96 record and the Twins pitching staff took the brunt of the blame for the Twins poor showing. The pitching staff was kind of a house divided with the relievers doing a pretty decent job taking into account that they threw the second most innings (558.2) in the league trailing only the Royals that pitched 561.1 innings. The Twins bullpen put up a respectable 3.77 ERA ranking 9th out of 14 teams. Opposing batters hit .246 off the Twins relief staff making them the fourth worst in the league. Then there were the starters….. The starting staff was dismal pitching only 880 innings for an average of 5.43 innings per game and only 61.19% of the innings pitched. The Seattle Mariners starters threw a league leading 1002.1 inning for an average of 6.19 innings per start, a difference of .76 innings per game. The Twins also had a league worst 5.40 ERA and opposing hitters played like all-stars hitting the starters at a .291 clip. Twins starters posted a 39-75 record and the Royals were next worse and they had 47 wins. Nothing really new here right?
But how does the 2012 Twins staff with Twins staff’s in the past, after all, only three Twins teams in their history have lost more games in a single season, the 1982 team lost 102, the 2011 boys lost 99 and the 1999 team walked off the field with their heads hanging down 97 times.
The 2012 Twins pitching staff allowed 5.14 runs per game, seven other Twins staff’s allowed more including the 1995 Twins who allowed 6.17 runs per game.
Thirteen Twins pitching staff’s gave up more hits than the 2012 staff did including the division winning 2009 crew.
The 2012 Twins staff allowed 198 long balls ranking 8th worst in their history. Did you know the 1987 World Series champion Twins gave up 210 home runs?
Last years Twins pitchers struck out 943 batters, the 1965 World Series team struck out 934 and the 1991 World Series champion Twins pitchers struck out just 876 opposing hitters.
At least 20 Twins staff’s over the years had a worse WHIP then the 1.39 that the 2012 staff had.
So when you read this you have to wonder why the Twins were so bad last season. Let’s take a look at run differential, the Twins scored 4.33 runs per game last season and gave up 5.14 runs per game, a differential of a minus .81 runs per game, seventh worse in team history. No Twins team that has had a negative run differential of a minus .50 or higher has ever won more that 71 games in any season. Everyone was all over the Twins pitching staff in 2012 and deservedly so but no one complained about the Twins runs scored issue. In the Twins 52 year history only 16 teams have had a lower runs per game total than last years Twins.
In order for the Twins to even think about playing .500 baseball, they need to drop their runs allowed and improve their runs scored to about 4.52 runs per game. The poor starting pitching also put the Twins in a deep hole, last season the Twins were out-scored 236 to 162 after the first two innings were played. That put the Twins run differential after 2 innings at a -74 and when you compare that the division winning Tigers +32 you come up with a difference of 106 runs in just the first two innings. When the Twins were trailing after two innings, they won 23% of those games. The Twins have work to do on both sides of the ball.