Maybe another road trip is just what the Twins need.
Perhaps the weather this time of year in Seattle will cure their scoring ills. Later on, there will be rib-scoring opportunities in Kansas City that could lead to run-scoring success against the Royals.
And, maybe, Miguel Sano will appear sometime over the next week or so, healthy and ready to feast on some meatballs — the ones over the plate, not on them.
Because just when the pitching staff is starting to find a groove, the Twins offense can’t find ways to score. And their 4-1 loss to Detroit on Wednesday at Target Field completed a homestand during which a lineup low on power could not bunch enough hits together to sustain the offense.
So they failed in their attempt to sweep the Tigers. Instead, they took two of three and went 4-5 on the home-stand. After going 7-3 on their last road trip, the Twins could use similar success when they open a three-game series in Seattle on Friday before playing three games in Kansas City.
“You know, it’s a little disappointing to be honest,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You have a chance to come out here and sweep a series, something that we’ve been looking to try to get one here. When you get the opportunities, you want to get greedy. We’ve talked about that a lot.”
They were held to one run on five hits by righthander Michael Fulmer and the Tigers bullpen. So the final homestand numbers are as follows: A team batting average of .225. Four home runs in nine games. An average of 3.33 runs scored per game.
This coincides with the pitching staff posting a tidy 3.11 ERA over those same nine games. Kyle Gibson went six innings Wednesday, giving up three earned runs — including a two-run homer to former Twin Niko Goodrum that broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth. Detroit added a run in the ninth on an RBI single by JaCoby Jones.
But it was the fourth consecutive game in which a Twins starter has pitched at least six innings. The staff is grinding away without a true ace and without proper offensive support.
Maybe that’s why the Twins sound more and more willing to activate Sano from the disabled list in time for Friday’s game. Sano, on a rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Rochester after a left hamstring strain, went 2-for-4 with a home run while playing first base Wednesday night in what appeared to be a final tuneup.
They missed Sano’s presence Wednesday, as Fulmer held the Twins to one run over 5⅔ innings. Eddie Rosario’s RBI single in the bottom of the first tied the score at 1-1, but Fulmer allowed only one baserunner past first base on the rest of his watch.
“I’m not a big tip-my-hat guy,” Molitor said, “But you acknowledge guys who know what they are doing out on the mound. I thought our approach was decent, but [Fulmer] made pitches when he had to.”
Second baseman Brian Dozier, who was awarded a ground-rule double in the first when his drive stuck between seams in the padding on the center field wall, feels the quality of their at-bats will be rewarded soon.
“Everyone wishes everyone was healthy, but that’s never the case by any means,” he said. “But I think for the most part, it’s been good and guys have been stepping up, especially the past few games. Let’s not forget we won two out of three. It’s hard to sweep at this level.”