Pitch to contact was not in their vocabulary


Dave Boswell - Twins pitcher from 1964 - 1970

Dave Boswell – Twins pitcher from 1964 – 1970

Many of us that watch the Twins day in and day out complain about the number of hits that the Twins pitchers allow and bemoan the Twins so-called pitching philosophy of “pitch to contact”. The baseball glossary defines “pitch to contact” as “a pitcher who doesn’t try to strike out batters but instead tries to get them to hit the ball weakly, especially on the ground“. Pitch to contact is probably not the preferred Twins method but you have to work with what you have and the Twins just don’t have the strikeout type pitchers right now but they have had some over the years and here are some of the best.

Looking back at the Twins pitching history there have been numerous Twins pitchers that either never heard of this approach or choose not to embrace it. Here is a list of the Twins pitchers that allowed the fewest hits per inning pitched (minimum of 500 innings) during their time in Minnesota. The Twins career leader here is Dave Boswell and I think that Boswell would have ripped your heart out if you ever asked him to pitch to contact.


Rank Name Years Innings pitched Hits per 9 Innings
1. Dave Boswell 64-70 1036.1 7.15
2. Johan Santana 00-07 1308.2 7.35
3. Dean Chance 67-69 664 7.37
4. Jim Merritt 65-68 686.2 7.64
5. Dick Stigman 62-65 643.2 7.70
6. Dick Woodson 69-74 561 7.83
7. Jim Perry 63-72 1883.1 8.18
8. Bert Blyleven 70-76, 85-88 2566.2 8.31
9. Rick Aguilera 89-95, 96-99 694 8.31
10. Francisco Liriano 05-12 783.1 8.35

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Tommy Hall - Twins pitcher from 1968 - 1971

Tommy Hall – Twins pitcher from 1968 – 1971

The best individual season in franchise history going back to 1901 was Tommy Hall’s 1970 season when he pitched in 52 games starting 11 and allowed just 5.45 hits per 9 innings in 155.1 innings pitched to go with his 184 strikeouts. Hall was 11-6 that season with a 2.55 ERA. During Hall’s 10 year career, he allowed just 656 hits in 852.2 innings. Amazing numbers. Hall didn’t pitch enough innings in Minnesota to make the above list but during his time in Minnesota he allowed 7.78 hits per 9 innings.

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2 Responses to Pitch to contact was not in their vocabulary

  1. Pingback: Pitch to contact was not in their vocabulary

  2. Mariam says:

    Sure makes me nostalgic! And I have fond memories of “The Blade,” Tom Hall.

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