If you’ve been watching a lot of baseball and thinking the offense is over, you’re not alone—and you’re not wrong.
With a little over a quarter of the 2022 season played, major league team scoring is down for a fourth straight season, and the team batting average is about rock bottom, .238 league-wide.
Asked Friday if this is the new reality in baseball, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said, “It’s definitely our reality right now.”
The only time teams have hit worse for an entire season was 1968, when the major league teams combined to hit. 237 and MLB responded by reducing the pitching mound for the 1969 season. Through Thursday’s games, teams are hitting an average of 7.93 hits per game, a number most commonly associated with 1968 (7.91) but also associated with baseball’s deadball era (1900–19).
Analytics has made defense more effective by shifting players into the infield and outfield, but the batsmen point to the pitching.
“Pitching is at a point right now where if they execute, we have no chance as a hitter,” said Twins shortstop Carlos Correa, who entered Friday’s game against Kansas City at Target Field, Which had a streak of 16 games, which boosted his batting average. From .200 to .280.
“We stay away from mistakes,” Correa said, “and we’re hoping that mistakes can drive us in the middle.”
The Twins started Friday 1-2 with an average of two runs in their last three matches. But he also started the day’s 4½ game over second-placed Chicago in the American League Central. His pitching has been the best in baseball—his 3.31 combined ERA is fifth in all MLBs—and ranks 10th in offense batting average (.244) and 12th in runs (189).
That last stat should probably be better; The Twins lead the AL in on-base percentage (.324) and the Runners in left base (309).
That was just three seasons ago, when the 2019 Twins averaged 5.79 runs in a game and scored a major league record 307 home runs.
“I think we will continue to try to push forward only one run at a time, probably more in the first ballgame than we might have thought before,” Baldelli said. “But right now, yeah, that’s our reality, so we’re going to deal with it and try to win under the circumstances.
“And all that said, who knows what the end of the season, the second half of the year, will look like, or what the next season will look like, but we’re not worried about that right now. We can only worry about the game right now. What does it look like?”
Twins activated left-hander danny coulombe (left hip) and outfielder removed from injured list Gilberto Celestino On the COVID injury list, where he joins the right-arm starter Joe Ryan,