It's a Glovely time in Twins baseball
The Twins may have felt the blue in Blue Jay after yesterday's 11-2 wing-clipping loss to Toronto, however the temporary pang of defeat may be assuaged by a more lasting tenet of their season. Through 39 ballgames, the division-leading Twins have committed just nine errors. Nine errors! Crazy. Only three other teams in baseball -- the Yankees with 15, and Cincy and San Fran with 16 each -- have made fewer than 20.
Historically, the Twins have always been among the American League's top defensive units, as evidenced by claiming their league's fewest errors five times since the dual introduction of Twins baseball and the 162-game season in 1961.
Their 84 errors in 1988 served as the fewest in the history of the 162-game A.L. until the Orioles' committed just 81 a decade later. In 2002, the Twins made a razor-thin 74 errors, a mark that serves as just one of seven seasons in which an American League club has made fewer than 80. Last year, the Boys made a mere 76 and tied with the Blue Jays for the fewest in the A.L.
In the 46 full seasons since '61, 90 different teams have less than 100 errors in a season. Fewer than 90? Only 33 clubs. Fewer than 70? Only two A.L. teams, the 2003 Mariners (65 errors) and the '06 BoSox (66) can lay claim to that elite leather lair.
But what this version of the Twins is doing defensively at the quarter pole of the season is fast threatening to make those sub-70 seasons look bulky. At their present rate, the Twins would finish the year with 37 errors. And that's been accomplished with defensive whizzes J.J. Hardy and Joe Mauer both missing substantial time due to injury. About the diamond, the positions of IB, SS, and 3B have committed nary an error all season. The team leader in errors? That would be four-time Gold Glove winner Orlando Hudson, who sports a mere two on the year having appeared in all games but one.
Speaking of Hudson: after the Twins 2-0 loss to O's on May 6th, the second baseman largely intimated to me that, despite the club having made just six errors in their first 29 games, the bobbles were en route.
"It's gonna happen," Hudson said. "It's coming. It's coming. The errors are coming. It's a crazy game. We're gonna boot some, misjudge some fly balls, miss the cut-off man. It's gonna happen."
Hudson has played in both leagues and is a veteran of well more than 1,000 Major League games. He no doubts knows the streaks of hardball; knows that on bad days the 5-ounce ball of leather and stitches can bound a way of its own. But Hudson's work as a clairvoyant looks to still take a backseat to his baseball acumen. In the 10 games since the 6th, the club has made only three more errors.
In the Golden Anniversary of Twins baseball, the number 50 surely has great meaning this season. But at their present defensive rate, the number 40 suddenly holds more luster.
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