Here’s something that I compiled over the season, that I haven’t even looked at until now. I thought it was somewhat interesting (obviously, since I spent the time to compile the numbers), but we’ll see whether it was worth it.
Levale Speigner made 6 starts this season for the Washington Nationals. In the five starts against a team other than the Twins, he never lasted more than 4 innings, he allowed 30 earned runs, and 49 baserunners (hits+walks) in 17 2/3 IP.
Of course, against the Twins, this was his line: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 SO for his only victory as a starter.
Anecdotally, this seemed to be a pattern for the Twins this season. When they faced a struggling pitcher (probably young, especially left-handed) they seem to have enormous struggles putting up any kind of offense. I know it’s easy to remember getting only 2 hits off of a pitcher like Speigner, but if Minnesota had knocked out 7 or 8 hits in five innings and put some runs on the board, the game would have been quickly forgotten. Do the Twins actually struggle more against below average pitchers? Or is this a case of selective memory making a problem seem worse than it actually is?
To investigate that question, I looked at the 93 different opposing starting pitchers the Twins faced in 2007. I looked at the 5 starts immediately preceding their start against the Twins for each opposing starter (if they didn’t have 5 starts under their belt, I just took the 5 starts closest to their start against the Twins) to get an idea of how the pitchers were doing about the time they faced Minnesota. I calculated FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) as well as the more conventional ERA statistic for the 5 starts. Then I calculated runs per nine innings and WHIP for the start against the Twins.
Data and all that after the jump.