Midway point shows regression, not improvement for Twins

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 4, 2013 - 7:16 AM

 

This season was supposed to be better, and for a while, it was. Two weeks ago, the Twins were three games below .500, and optimism was growing.

But the Twins arrived at the halfway point of the season Wednesday, and optimism is a lot scarcer. A 3-9 record since leaving on their last road trip is part of the reason. The loss of cleanup hitter Josh Willingham is another, along with the fact that the expected improvement has not materialized.

Managing only 66 wins last year, and 63 the season before, was supposed to be an easy level of achievement to clear. But Minnesota is 36-45 — only one victory better than the 35-46 record it had at the midway point in both 2011 and 2012.

“We’re not where we want to be,” General Manager Terry Ryan said. “We’re not even at .500, and that isn’t going to get you anywhere.”

The Twins opened the day 7½ games behind Cleveland in the AL Central; they were nine back halfway through the past couple of seasons, and they were never relevant in the second half of either season.

Manager Ron Gardenhire wants to avoid another play-out-the-string summer, and he thought he had a team that could. “This last little stretch has been disappointing, because we felt like we were going along [well],” he said. “We’ve had chances, and we’ve thrown a couple of games away. You can’t afford to do that when you’re chasing .500 and trying to stay in it. But I feel better about this group.”

Statistics point out where the problem lies: While the Twins’ pitching staff, and the bullpen in particular, has made great strides in run prevention this year, the offense remains below average. The Twins scored 701 runs last season, which ranked in the bottom five of the American League. This season? They’ve scored 336 entering Wednesday’s game, on a pace to score 680. Only once since 1990 have they scored so few in a non-strike year.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ve got a lot of time to do it,” catcher Joe Mauer said.

Successful surgery

Arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn meniscus in Willingham’s left knee Wednesday morning was a success, Ryan said, and he challenged the team’s remaining outfielders to use his absence — expected to be four to six weeks — as a chance to earn more playing time.

“There is an opportunity for [Chris] Parmelee. It certainly frees up some space for [Oswaldo] Arcia,” Ryan said. Still, “he isn’t easily replaceable. Ultimately, he’s our No. 4 hitter, and we’re having trouble scoring as it is.”

Another outfielder, Wilkin Ramirez, was in the Twins clubhouse Wednesday after undergoing a series of tests with Twins doctors. Ramirez, who suffered a concussion in late May, had a relapse after diving for a ball during a rehab game in Fort Myers, Fla. The Twins gave him a few days to recover, since they didn’t want him to get on a plane right away, and now hope to begin the rehab process anew.

Etc.

• Righthanded reliever Deolis Guerra, whose season was short-circuited by a blood clot that required surgery to remove a rib in March, is throwing again and should be able to pitch by the end of July, Ryan said.

•  Kohl Stewart, the Twins’ first-round draft pick, will make his professional debut in a Gulf Coast League game Thursday in Fort Myers. “I’m not too concerned about anything other than him getting his feet wet in pro ball,” Ryan said of the 18-year-old righthander. “I guess the only thing I hope he does is throw the ball over the plate.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 26 1st Qtr 0:22
Chicago 20
Oklahoma City 2:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 4:00 PM
Team Foligno
South Florida 30 2nd Half 14:34
Connecticut 36
Boston College 7 1st Half 10:33
Georgia Tech 11
Virginia 18 1st Half 11:19
Virginia Tech 11
Indiana 12:30 PM
Ohio State
Stony Brook 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Cincinnati 1:00 PM
UCF
Maine 1:00 PM
Hartford
Monmouth 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Marist
Rowan 1:00 PM
Princeton
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Rhode Island
Duke 1:00 PM
St Johns
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Siena
Drake 1:00 PM
Wichita State
Vermont 1:00 PM
UMass Lowell
Seton Hall 2:00 PM
Butler
NJIT 2:05 PM
South Alabama
Northern Iowa 3:00 PM
Illinois State
Louisville 3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
UMBC 3:30 PM
Albany
Niagara 3:30 PM
Iona
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 61 2nd Half 8:23
Georgetown 67
St Johns 59 2nd Half 4:50
Villanova 76
Arkansas 32 2nd Half 14:32
Florida 43
Maine 10 1st Half 14:00
UMBC 5
Vanderbilt 10 1st Half 12:27
Alabama 1
Lafayette 14 1st Half 11:42
Lehigh 14
UCF 1:00 PM
SMU
Utah 1:00 PM
Washington
James Madison 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
Delaware 1:00 PM
Drexel
Hofstra 1:00 PM
William & Mary
Hartford 1:00 PM
Albany
Binghamton 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Towson 1:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Wake Forest 1:00 PM
(17) Florida State
Georgia Tech 1:00 PM
Virginia
(22) Georgia 1:00 PM
(5) Tennessee
Drake 1:00 PM
Evansville
Iona 1:00 PM
Canisius
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Northwestern 1:00 PM
Penn State
Wisconsin 1:00 PM
Michigan State
Ohio State 1:00 PM
Purdue
Northern Iowa 1:05 PM
Indiana State
Butler 1:30 PM
Xavier
Creighton 2:00 PM
Marquette
Providence 2:00 PM
DePaul
Northeastern 2:00 PM
Elon
(2) Connecticut 2:00 PM
Cincinnati
Oregon 2:00 PM
Arizona
Bradley 2:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
NC State 2:00 PM
(23) Syracuse
(7) Maryland 2:00 PM
Indiana
Illinois State 2:05 PM
Missouri State
Colorado 3:00 PM
Washington St
Tulane 3:00 PM
South Florida
(14) Kentucky 3:00 PM
Missouri
(9) Oregon State 3:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Vermont 3:30 PM
UMass Lowell
Iowa State 3:30 PM
(8) Texas
Southern Ill 3:45 PM
Wichita State
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close