The Runner Sports

Can Twins Continue Home Run Streak?

Jorge Polanco’s long ball in the seventh inning of Sunday’s loss to Cleveland was too little too late. The Minnesota Twins went from a six-run deficit to a five-run deficit and would not score again. But it did make it the fifteenth straight game with a home run for Minnesota. This is one short of the franchise record set in 1979.

If the Twins are going to match this record, they have to hit one out against a Colorado pitching staff that has only given up 40 home runs all season. Just seven teams have given up fewer home runs than Colorado, and those teams don’t play half their games in the best home run park in the majors. In other words, Colorado is good at keeping the ball out of the stands, especially on the road, so the Twins have a tough challenge ahead of them.

Tuesday’s starter, Kyle Freeland has only given up one home run in forty innings this season. So he is a stingy pitcher on an already stingy staff. To make matters worse, he is a left-handed pitcher. The Twins have had a third of their at-bats against southpaws, but have only hit seven of their forty homers this season against lefties. For whatever reason, Twins hitters struggle to get the ball out of the park when facing left-handed pitchers, so the odds look even worse.

If the Twins do manage to get past Freeland to the Colorado bullpen, their home run chances are equally frustrating. Only six other relief corps have given up fewer homers than Colorado’s unit. Any way you slice it, Colorado is going to make it hard for the Twins to get a homer in game number sixteen.

So that just means the Twins may need to take some more initiative and earn their home runs. Instead of waiting for a meatball, Twins hitters should just try to take advantage of the Colorado outfielders. Rockies outfielders have been good at making plays on balls hit within their expected range but struggle in most other capacities. They are below league average at saving runs for their pitchers and the throwing arms of their outfielders can be exploited for extra bases. Put together, this means that a ball to the gap or over an outfielder’s head could be stretched into an inside-the-park home run. Brian Dozier has already done it this year and Byron Buxton set records with his inside-the-park homer last year. These two, along with Polanco, Eddie Rosario, and Max Kepler have the skills to run for a while and test those throwing arms.

If the Twins should find a way to hit a homer in Tuesday’s game, they will be faced with the task of breaking the home run streak record on Wednesday. They will face right-hander German Marquez who has given up only two home runs in 24 innings. This will be another tough game, but Thursday’s matchup, should the streak still be alive, will be a good chance to bring it to eighteen. Tyler Chatwood has been serving homers up generously with nine allowed in 48 innings.

But before they worry about Wednesday and Thursday they need to hit a homer on Tuesday. It only takes one good swing, and this lineup has plenty of players capable of providing one. Of course, a win against the fourth best team in the majors would be good, even if it doesn’t include a dinger.

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer is a lifelong Twins fan who spends most nights dreaming of learning a knuckleball and pitching them to a World Series victory.
Charlie Gillmer

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