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.
Someone got a bit peeved with me a little while back because they felt I wasn't being enough of a fan during one of my posts. That commenter was apparently equating being a Twins fan with never uttering a discouraging word regardless of the stench that may be wafting. Let's try that for a second: Good try, Twins. You're winning one of every three and, every now and again, a couple of guys are playing up to the best of their abilities. It'll get better. A lot of home games coming up. Hey, batter, batter.
Silly, huh? I mean, when the Twins play Seattle on Monday night, they'll be trying to end an eight-game losing streak at Target Field, including some of the foulest baseball seen in the Twin Cities since the Stahoviak era.
There's no cheerfulness here right now when it comes to baseball.
In Arizona, the Twins showed they could still botch routine plays, roster relievers who aren't what Bill Smith thought they were, lose to a team that made five errors in one game, blow late-inning leads, fail to get clutch hits, make mental mistakes in the field and get swept by a National League team that's in a fierce rebuilding stage.
And is anyone else still trying to figure out why Gardy ordered a two-out intentional walk to Willie Bloomquist in the seventh, which set up the game-losing hit in the series opener and set the tone for a weekend where you could routinely expect the worst to happen for the Twins. Bases loaded, one out, ninth inning, Kubel-and-Morneau coming up? A one-run loss. Baker needing to pick up his teammates by protecting a three-run lead for one more inning? Double-double-exit. Plouffe missing a catchable line drive and Revere making an error to put the tie-breaking run on third base> D'backs 3, Twins 2.
And the Twins come home with the worst record in the majors. No excuses about health or road games, please.
Back to Willie Bloomquist.. Look at his career stats and -- I kind of hate to go here -- but it's not that much different than giving an intentional walk to Nick Punto. It was the fourth time in more than 2,100 plate appearances that Bloomquist had gotten an intentional walk. Another piece of Bloomquist trivia, in 2008 he had 192 plate appearances for Seattle -- and one extra-base hit. I didn't even have to look that one up. For some reason, I knew that one. Sick.
Walking Willie Bloomquist isn't exactly a step-up kind of thing. And they walked him to face a guy, Ryan Roberts, whose 2011 stats would lead the Twins right now in home runs and OPS.
Just sayin' that his bases-loaded double wasn't exactly a huge surprise. Bloomquist wasn't being walked to face Butera or Casilla or Tolbert or Rivera or Revere.
I know I'm cherry picking statistics here, but if I had to make a list of 21 baseball axioms, one of them would be: Always pitch to Willie Bloomquist. I would have told you that before Friday. He's one of those guys that, when you see him in the opponent's lineup, you think it bodes well for your team -- all the more when he's batting leadoff.
From there, it was all downhill.
I am not going to shopping list all that went wrong this weekend. You should feel free to point out your favorite foible in the comments. Was it the botched pick-off rundown Sunday? Valencia's bunt misplay on Saturday? Slowey's inning on Friday?
This is getting difficult enough to watch that I opted for tornado coverage for most of Sunday afternoon. Maybe Monday night will be for pro wrestling. (No, not really.) And my friend The Bueno is coming over to watch the Bulls and Heat on Tuesday. (Yes, really.)
It's getting that hard to watch the Twins right now. Maybe that's because of how much of the self-destruction I've watched so far. It's hard for a team to fall 14 1/2 games out of first place less than two months into the season -- and 14 1/2 games behind Cleveland, at that.
You tell me how it's gonna get better.
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