There are a lot of factors can lead to a Minnesota Twins victory. Scoring runs is definitely one. Not giving up sixteen runs in the first inning is another (and far more difficult than it appears). Voodoo dolls are never ruled out.
That said, the biggest factor that has determined the outcome for the Twins this year is a bit more surprising. No, it’s not whether or not Joe Mauer is playing or if Vance Worley is starting. Rather, it is the performance of Ryan Doumit.
The Absurd Splits of Ryan Doumit
In games in which the Twins win, Doumit is hitting .310/.361/.667. In losses, Doumit has a slash of .159/.235/.205. The difference in OPS for Doumit in victories vis a vis losses is .588. For perspective, Justin Morneau's split is 0.276, Mauer's is .264, and Chris Parmelee's is .231. Josh Willingham is actually the opposite with a .851 in losses and .770 in victories. The only Twin who comes close to Doumit’s win/loss OPS split is Aaron Hicks at .416.
Doumit has started 21 games which have resulted in a win this year. In those games, he has hit eight doubles, one triple and seven home runs with 22 RBI. Doumit has also started 21 games that have resulted in a loss, finishing with four doubles, one home run (which he hit yesterday against the Royals) and ten RBI. The Twins are 14-8 this year when Doumit records an RBI compared to 12-25 when he does not.
Since May 27, Doumit has really stepped up his performance at the plate. The 32-year-old is hitting .307 over those 10 games, but he has tacked on five home runs and 15 RBI. As a result, the Twins have gone 7-3 in their last ten after losing 11 of their 12 games prior to the streak. Not to mention he is the main reason the Twins are able to move Mauer around a bit and save his knees rather than having him catch every day.
It's important for the Twins' offense to have Doumit keep hitting. Right now, the Twins have gotten a collective .204/.286/.308 from their five-hole hitters this year. That’s not good. The drop-off from Mauer, Willingham and Morneau to the rest of the order is considerable. However, if Doumit can keep hitting, the numbers show that the Twins will keep on winning.
Jim Sannes covers baseball and the Minnesota Twins weekly for numberFire. Contact him on Twitter @JimSannes.