Inside The Numbers: Hunter A Slugger

The Twins have gotten off to a 8-5 record through the first 13 games of the season, and have looked great on some occasions, and bad on others. Still, the Twins are a major player in the American League pennant race, as we go Inside the Numbers to try to break down the Twins successes, and failures, thus far in 2007.

The Minnesota Twins have gotten off to an 8-5 record, mostly due to some timely hitting from the middle of the batting order, and some surprisingly good starting pitching. The season is only a few weeks old, but already the Twins once again look like a team to beat in the American League. Here is a quick look inside the numbers:

Once again, Joe Mauer is creeping up the batting leaderboard, after another solid day at the plate on Sunday. Mauer is now batting .364, good for a tie for fourth in the American League, though he has not hit a home run this season. Overall, the Twins are currently the fourth best team overall in hitting.

Joining Mauer on that leaderboard is Michael Cuddyer, who is currently batting at a .360 clip. Many people question why Cuddyer bats in the middle of the Twins lineup, but for the past two seasons, his statistics have spoken for themselves. Cuddy is also third in the AL in hits, with 18, and driven in nearly a run per game.

Despite injuring himself in Tuesday's game, Torii Hunter is off to blazing start to the 2007 season, showing great extra-base hit ability. Hunter is currently second in the American League with 11 extra-base hits, including nine doubles, and has been showing great power to the opposite field. The Twins centerfielder is also tied for first in the league in stolen bases, as he has already swiped four this season.

On the pitching side, the Twins have been getting some great starts from Ramon Ortiz, who was a big question mark coming into the season. Ortiz has won his first three starts of the season, going at least seven in innings in each appearance, and is currently second in the AL with 22.0 inning pitched. In that span, Ortiz has struck out eight batters, walked only two, and has not allowed more than two earned runs in any start.

Johan Santana has been, well, Johan Santana, striking out 19 batters over his last two outings. He has struggled with his command at times, but batters are still hitting only .194 against him this season. The 2006 Cy Young Winner currently has a 2-1 record, and his 3.60 earned run average is mostly due to the four earned runs he allowed against Tampa Bay in a rare home loss his last time out.

Two players off to a slow start are Boof Bonser and Sidney Ponson, two starters who were expected to help solidify the Twins starting rotation. Bonser is currently leading the AL in home runs allowed (5), and has a 6.89 earned run average through his first three starts. Ponson has an ERA over 8.00, and Twins fans are already calling for Matt Garza to be recalled from Triple-A Rochester.

Carlos Silva has been terrific in the early going, and has separated himself from talk of being demoted to bring up younger arms. Silva has a 0.77 earned run average through his first two starts, and has not been done in by the home run, which is key to his success. Though batters are hitting .267 against him, Silva has walked only three this season, and has a respectable 1.29 WHIP.


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