As the saying goes, just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you.
And just because something is an overused cliché, that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Such is the case with the Twins hitting left-handed pitchers. It’s been talked about so much that it isn’t talked about anymore – exactly when it should be talked about. I’ll credit Patrick Reusse for pointing it out again, and whether he did it because it’s a cliché or because he really could back it up, it is certainly true.
It’s the reason we’re having such trouble gauging this offense. If you think that the Twins offense has the potential to be top five in the league, you’re right – against right-handed pitching.
American League vs RH Pitching
If you think they’re dreadfully inconsistent, heading towards putrid, you’re right too – against left-handed pitching.
American League vs LH Pitching
That’s one heck of a drop-off, the biggest in the majors. And whether it’s by happenstance, or some devious strategy, the Twins have faced a lot of left-handed pitching. In fact, they lead the majors and it’s not particularly close:
American League At-bats
To some extent, that’s by design. There’s no doubt that other teams like to use left-handed pitching against the Twins. For instance, last year the Twins ranked second in the league in at-bats against left-handers, behind only the White Sox (who, incidentally are the only team worse than the Twins.) That's the bad news.
But the good news is that the Twins are going to face fewer left-handers. It HAS to happen. Last year, even with as many at-bats as they had against left-handers, they still had twice as many at-bats against right-handed pitchers. This year, they’re close to even, which smells like a quirk of early season scheduling.
And that’s the just the start of the good news. We’ll have more tomorrow, when we start examining who the culprits are of this early season southpaw funk.