Around the Horn: The Twins & Target Field
Last week we were in Cleveland. The next stop on our tour has us in the Twin Cities.
The Minnesota Twins saw their season-best five-game win streak come to an end in Tuesday's second contest of its double-header with the Marlins, an 8-5 setback in which I had the "over".
One player you'll want to keep your eyes on is Joe Mauer, as the five-time All-Star is hitting .444 with two home runs and eight RBIs over his last 11 games (that said, Mauer is hitting just .243 vs. his next opponent, going 5 for 30 over his last nine home games in this series).
2012 Park Factor (Park Factor compares the rate of stats at home vs. the rate of stats on the road. A rate below 1.000 favors the pitcher. Higher than 1.000 favors the hitter).
- Runs: 1.044
- HR: 1.031
- H: 1.030
- 2B: 0.989
- 3B: 1.905
- BB: 1.082
Interesting facts about Target Field: Is the Twins' sixth ballpark and third in Minnesota. After 28 seasons at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the team relocated to Target Field in 2010. An open-air park with over 39,000 occupancy (cost just over a half-billion dollars to construct). Was designed with the purpose of being a "neutral" park as far as favoring neither the pitcher nor the hitter. Built with local limestone, it features heated viewing areas and a heated field. There is no roof, but the top deck is covered in a canopy. The original flagpole from Metropolitan Stadium is located on the right-field plaza. The bullpens are "double-decker" style in left-center field. Home plate is the same that was used at the Metrodome. It has been selected to host the 2014 All-Star Game.
Has home field been an advantage for the Twins since Target Field opened?
- 2010: 94-68 overall. 53-28 at home. 41-40 on road.
- 2011: 63-99 overall. 33-48 at home. 30-51 on road.
- 2012: 66-96 overall. 31-50 at home. 35-46 on road.
(2013 as of writing: 9-8 overall. 5-4 at home. 4-4 on road.
Obviously over the last two seasons, home field has been anything but an advantage for the Twins. They had the big year in 2010, but have soiled the sheets the last two seasons.
In all of my other articles I've taken a look back over the previous five seasons, so to be fair, let's see what Minnesota did in 2008 and 2009:
- 2008: 88-75 overall. 53-28 at home. 35-47 on road.
- 2009: 87-76 overall. 49-33 at home. 38-43 on road.
The Twins' talent level in all phases of the game has dropped considerably overall since 2010, so I think it's safe to say that the book is still out on whether or not Target Field is an advantage for the Twins.
The Twins open a four game series with the Rangers on Thursday the 25th.
Minnesota was 2-8 vs. the Rangers last season, including 0-3 at Target Field.
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These two teams are moving in opposite directions right now and I think those trends continue here. Columbus has lost seven straight, while behind the strong play of goaltender Corey Schneider the Devils are 6-1-1 in their last eight, most recently coming off a 3-1 home win over Central Division-leading Nashville on Tuesday. If history is any precedence, then New Jersey has to be loving its chances today as it's 6-0-1 with one tie at home in the all-time series vs. the Blue Jackets. The Devils have been particularly efficient on the penalty kill, staving off 21 of the last 22 chances, with Schneider posting a 1.33 GAA in the process. Schneider's numbers are equally as impressive against Columbus, he's 9-1-1 with a 1.71 GAA in 11 starts vs. the Blue Jackets life time, which includes a 33-save effort in last weekend's 2-0 road victory. Columbus comes in with zero momentum, it fell to 0-6-1 in its last seven after a 5-3 setback to Washington on Tuesday; note one big reason behind the Blue Jackets struggles is their inept power play, an NHL-worst 8.7 percent since the All-Star break. NEW JERSEY is now in the playoff hunt and I think is definitely worth the price of admission in this spot, but what do you think? Does the home side lay the hammer down, or can the Jackets score the upset?