Nine appears to be the Minnesota Twins' magic number. While nine is the amount of wins the Twins would need to string together to get back in contention, the number has even greater significance when it comes to the Twins' current woes.
While it was refreshing to see the Twins be the winners in a slugfest like their 11-7 win over the Detroit Tigers on May 16, the glut of hits and runs also proved exactly why this team has been so awful in 2012.
The Twins registered 14 hits against the team most experts thought would run away with the American League Central. The Twins got decent production from their entire lineup, but were lead, like they should be, by Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau, who accounted for four doubles and six total hits. Let's also not forget the home runs of Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier, which contributed mightily to the Twins victory, despite another poor starting pitching performance by Nick Blackburn.
Of the Twins' 11 victories, nine of them have come when the team has collected nine or more hits in a game. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the more hits you get, the better chance you have of scoring, which gives you a better chance of winning. But, in the Twins' case, the offensive famine has been so bad that we are actually celebrating the achievement of getting nine base hits.
Maybe this win will wake up the Twins' slumbering bats. It's no coincidence that on the night Morneau returned to the lineup this team went on a hitting and scoring binge. Say what you want about Morneau and his injuries, but when the guy plays, he brings a spark to the lineup few others can provide.
Hitting the ball is a major part of the game. Somebody has to be held accountable. In Anaheim, the Angels just recently fired longtime hitting coach and former Minnesota Twins player Mickey Hatcher because, I believe, newly acquired superstar Albert Pujols is off to a terrible start.
Maybe the Twins should follow suit and dump their hitting coach, Joe Vavra, to send a message to the team. It's not a guarantee for success, but something has to change so fans don't consider holding a ticket-tape parade every time the Twins get nine lousy hits.
Blair Reynolds is a lifelong Minnesota Twins fan who once sold tickets at the Metrodome to pay his college tuition.