Anything But By the Book

The Twins continue to defy conventional wisdom

You wanna know how Jacque Jones has managed to rack up 52 RBI batting leadoff? Take a look at the production of the guys the Twins have been batting down in the order, most notably A.J. Pierzynski, who despite his .321 average has been regularly batting eighth. "I've been in a position where the guys at the bottom of the order have been getting on base and setting the table for me all year," says Jones. "It seems like those guys are on base every time I come up."

Going into Monday's game, Hunter was hitting only .225 with runners in scoring position, despite which he has a team-leading 55 RBI. Imagine what his numbers would look like with even average production in those key RBI situations. Meanwhile, Hunter's batting average has fallen from .371 in April to .297; he hit .250 in May, and is hitting .263 so far in June. Half of his home-run total came in his hot April. "Torii's had some really bad at bats lately, but he keeps at it, and tonight he ends up hitting a big two-run homer to bring us back," Gardenhire said after Monday's game. "You gotta love the guy."

Says Hunter: "I'm a streak hitter. No matter what I do, I try to leave the game with a positive attitude. When you play nine innings and you play every day, you always know you're going to get another chance real quick. Hopefully I'm going to go into another one of those streaks where I'm just swinging hard and hitting everything all over the place."

The good news about Cristian Guzman is that he finally seems to be shaking the funk that dogged him the first six weeks of the season; he has raised his average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage each of the first three months of the season.

The Twins lead the league in runners left on base. Consider that Kansas City has stranded the fewest runners, however, and you'll see that that's something of a misleading stat. With 168 doubles and a .276 team batting average, the Twins have had a lot of runners on base, and despite scoring only 36 runs in their recent nine-game road trip, they're still fourth in the league in runs scored.


Brad Zellar goes Yard every Tuesday--and perhaps more often--for as long as he (and the Twins) are up to it.

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