ATLANTA – All season, Twins hitters and coaches have maintained their belief in the offense turning a corner and showing more consistency.
Despite a starting rotation that ranks among the league’s best, the Twins haven’t separated themselves in an awful division.
On the 81st game of the season Tuesday, the season’s halfway point, the Twins were hitless in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position and scored only two runs in a game where the opposing defense committed four errors.
“I take full responsibility for the way things are going offensively in the first half,” Correa said before Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to the Braves. “I’ll keep putting in the work every day and when it clicks, it’s going to be better not just for me but for the entire team.”
The Twins hit .232 with a .710 OPS in the first half of the season, ranking in the bottom third of the league in both categories. They averaged 4.23 runs per game, but they had 30 games when they scored two or fewer runs. They led the majors with 824 strikeouts and remain on pace to shatter the all-time record for team strikeouts.
Compare it to the same point last year: .253 batting average with a .739 OPS while scoring 4.48 runs per game. The Twins had only 665 strikeouts through the first 81 games last season.
“The offense is way better than it’s been for the first half of the season, that’s for sure,” Correa said. “Everyday players like me, [Byron Buxton], we’ve got to get going. We’re way better than what we’ve shown the first half. The good thing is when we go, we’re going to be in a way better spot as a team.”
Among Twins hitters with at least 100 plate appearances, Ryan Jeffers is the only one with an OPS above .800. Correa is having the worst offensive season of his career. Buxton, exclusively a designated hitter, is striking out more often and hitting for less power than previous years.
“We all want to be a little bit more consistent with things, especially being at the halfway point,” Buxton said. “It is what is. We’re here now. We just have to get better.”
An alarming sign is the Twins have almost all their hitters healthy. Royce Lewis and Kirilloff returned from preseason injuries. Buxton has been a regular in the lineup. Jorge Polanco has been limited to 30 games, but this is as healthy as the club could’ve hoped halfway through the year.
“There are a lot of things we could be doing better offensively,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, who didn’t want to delve into specifics. “I’m not going to sit here and whack our group for the third time this week and talk about all the things we’re not doing.”
Baldelli wasn’t surprised Correa shouldered the blame after Tuesday’s 6-2 loss in Atlanta, crediting the shortstop’s leadership.
The offense was supposed to be a strength of the roster, but it’s kept them hovering around .500. They haven’t recorded a winning streak longer than three games since a four-game winning streak from April 11-14.
“Our starting pitching has carried us,” Baldelli said. “We expect the same if not better going forward from those guys. That’s asking a lot, but that’s OK. We’re going to ask them for a lot. Our offense has been hit or miss the entire first half. We’ve seen glimpses of exactly what we want to see, but I think putting that together really brings our team together. I think we’re capable of a lot of the offense upticks in the way we think they’re going to and we’ve expected them to.”
Reliever Brock Stewart was evaluated by a doctor in Minneapolis, who confirmed the setup man has a chance to avoid a lengthy stay on the inured list. “Everything I think came out just as we thought it would,” Baldelli said.
Source: Yahoo Sports