If you blinked — or better yet, if you closed your eyes completely and looked away for an entire month — you might not have realized that exactly one-sixth of the Twins season, 27 games, was in the books as of the team's 6-4 loss Tuesday in Houston.
At 8-19, it's been an ugly start. It's been so ugly that if the trends established for the first part of the season are extrapolated over an entire season, things will look almost incomprehensibly bleak.
The good news for the Twins is that many of the team's numbers figure to improve — though other inflated ones figure to get worse. Let's take a quick look at some of the ugliest projections (and a few good ones, too):
• Team record: At this pace, the Twins would finish the season 48-114. That is very, very, very unlikely to happen. Not only would it be the worst winning percentage for the franchise in more than 100 years (dating back to the 1909 Senators) but also their winning percentage (.296) would be the second-worst in MLB in the past 50 years. Perhaps more relevant is this troubling notion: The Twins will have to go 73-62 (.541) over the final 135 games just to finish .500.
• Relief innings: Twins relievers have already logged 94⅔ innings this season — second most in the American League. The bullpen ERA of 3.23 is fine, but the Twins run the risk of overworking their relievers yet again.
• Team strikeouts (batting): The Twins have struck out 243 times, on pace for 1,458 in the season. That would set a team record.
• Team runs scored: The Twins have scored just 95 runs, on pace for a dismal 570. Last year's middle-of-the-pack offense scored 696.
• Team defense: The Twins have made 18 errors (not to mention a host of other misplays). That's the second most in the American League and on pace for 108 (they made just 86 last season).
• Offense from catchers: Kurt Suzuki and John Ryan Murphy are a combined 14-for-92 at the plate this season. If that keeps up (it won't, but just imagine if it did), the Twins catchers would COMBINE for just 84 hits this year.
• Park bangs: Byung Ho Park has been one of the pleasant surprises on this year's team. He hit his seventh home run Tuesday night and is on pace for 42 this season. He hits them far and he hits them to all fields.
• Joe Mauer: The Twins' first baseman has been on base 52 times this season via a hit or walk, putting him on pace for 312 times reaching via those methods. He's never been on base more than 267 times via a hit or walk in any season.
• Pitcher strikeouts: Twins pitchers have struck out 218 batters, a pace to finish the year with 1,308. Their 218 K's so far rank them 14th in MLB. After finishing dead last in MLB in that category each of the past five seasons — last year Twins pitchers struck out 1,046 batters — this is a notable improvement.