Message to Gardenhire, Anderson: Please do not pitch to Raul Ibanez
As the Twins kick off a three-game set in Seattle this evening, is it too much to ask not to give the guy anything to hit? Especially since he's batting in front of a dude, Adrian Beltre, who's hitting .246 on the season, and who has only two careers homers against active Twins pitchers in 87 at-bats, and an average of .253?
Taking Ibanez's performance against the Twins into account, he's batting .301 on the season. As Joe Biden would say, that's literally an improvement of 13 points. And his mastery of Twins pitching is not just a one-year thing. In his career, Ibanez has never gotten a hit off Liriano, Nathan, or Jesse Crain, against whom he's a combined 0-16. Against the rest of active Twins pitchers, Ibanez is hitting .464 in 56 at-bats, with six homers and 27 RBI.
And when you're batting .538 against a team over two series, you're not doing it quietly. In the first meeting between the two teams--you may recall the game, which was earlier this month--the Twins took a 6-0 lead into the the sixth. In the bottom of that inning, Ibanez led off with a single and scored the Mariners' first run of the game. The next inning, with the Twins up 6-1, and with one out and the bases loaded, Ibanez hit a grand slam. He came to bat a second time that same inning, again with the bases loaded, and hit a sharp single up the middle that scored two more runs and put his team up 11-6, which turned out to be the final score.
The next night, Ibanez hit a three-run homer to put his team up 3-2 in the third, knocked in two more runs with a single to put his team ahead 6-3 in the sixth, then, after the Twins had clawed back to a 7-6 lead, he singled in the 8th, later scoring the game-winning run on a two-run double against Joe Nathan.
Things got a little better after that, but only a little. In their last meeting, the Twins won 11-8. Ibanez went 5-5 with two doubles.
Granted, he's struggled against Liriano, tonight's scheduled starter. But would it be so terrible conceding a baserunner to this miserable Mariners team?
Here are Ibanez's totals against the Twins so far this year: