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Twins' offense lacking stolen bases

Twins' offense lacking stolen bases

Twins' offense lacking stolen bases

ST. PETERSBURG -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn't have to hesitate for long when asked about his club's offensive identity.

"We're not a speed team, for sure," Gardenhire said. "We have a few guys who can run. We're more of a base-to-base team."

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There's a reason Gardenhire could so emphatically say the Twins aren't going to wow anyone with their speed. They've stolen 29 bases this season, more than only the Tigers in the American League, and only three players have more than one steal. Brian Dozier and Pedro Florimon have swiped eight bases, and Aaron Hicks has stolen six. Beyond that, seven players have one stolen base -- and that's it.

They've been caught 17 times, and their 63 percent success rate is lowest in the AL.

"We have a lot of big guys in the middle that are base-to-base. We're not a hit-and-run team," Gardenhire said. "We've got a few guys that can, but we don't have enough speed to be able to do that to really make a lot of movement."

While that puts a limit on what the Twins can do offensively, it also makes them reliant on having a productive lineup, Nos. 1-9. If everyone's not clicking, or if everyone clicks at different times, they're probably going to struggle to consistently score runs. That happened again on Tuesday, as the Twins managed only three hits in the first eight innings and five total in a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

"We rely on the big guys in the middle maybe to hit some balls off the wall or over the wall. We're definitely kind of in the middle," Gardenhire said. "We need production all the way up and down, absolutely.

"We have people. You have it up and down the lineup. We know we can score runs. But we haven't put it together. We haven't really had a run where we've put together five, six, seven runs a game, and our pitchers have gone deep into games. It's all about getting a group together and doing the same things."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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