Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
There are so many things going so wrong right now for the Twins. On Wednesday, everyone from Francisco Liriano to Robbie Incmikoski was off their game. It's one thing to watch a team struggle through injuries, illness and April weather and have some empathy. It's another when the starting pitcher isn't ready to pitch and continues his run-per-inning ineptitude.
"I didn't feel the ball in my hand the first inning,'' Liriano said after the game. "I just tried to grab the ball and go quick to the plate and see if I got loose. It just didn't happen.''
And Tampa Bay just grabbed its bats and went boom, boom, boom, boom, boom! It was 4-0 almost before last week's episode of Survivor was recapped.
in the words of the great coach John Wooden, "Failure to prepare is preparing to fail."
Here's the deal: The Twins are so dreadfully depleted right now to the point that Wednesday's lineup looked like something Gardy would send to Sarasota for a midweek exhibition game. But this is a time for guys to step up. Baker and Duensing stepped up in their last starts; Kubel has stepped up all season to make up for teammates absent and so-far inept.
In contrast, There is Liriano's 9-plus ERA and Michael Cuddyer, who has adapted to playing several positions by putting up Puntonian offensive statistics through the first 22 games, and Alexi Casilla, who is making the confidence I showed in him during the preseason look woefully misguided.
Also embarrassing: The decision to reschedule Tuesday's rain-out for today instead of July. As Patrick pointed out in his column, the Rays didn't like the idea, but the Twins were concerned about the groups that had planned to come on Tuesday and wouldn't be able to reassemble for a July game. (Think school kids.)
Not buying it. There's no sympathy here for an organization that is being forced to assemble second-tier lineups on a daily basis and then puts on an extra performance with that group when it isn't necessary.
Give refunds and free up those tickets for fans who can attend in July. I'm sure the youngsters would get over their disappointment and their chaperones would breathe a sigh of relief. Instead, the Mauerless, Delmonless, Thomeless, Nishiokaless, less-than-100 percent (Nathan, Morneau, Repko, Hoey-instead-of-Slowey) Twins (ft. Anthony Swarzak) will play twice today and then get out of town for a week-and-a-half.
(An aside: Even sillier was a piece of original spin about the busy July schedule -- and that the Twins already have to make up a game with Cleveland. Sorry, but the Twins should be capable of playing 11 games in 10 days, followed by the All-Star break, followed by daily games - even with another doubleheader - for the rest of the month. Two July doubleheaders two weeks apart? Horrors.)
The good news? If you want to go to Target Field today, there are lots of cheap tickets. On StubHub at 8:30 this morning, you could find them for as little as $4. And who knows? Maybe the Twins will get it together and triumph over the adversity they've helped create for themselves.
Maybe even twice.
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