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.
The flaws of the Twins have been pretty well exposed even though there are still 143 games to play: The starting pitching is messed up, the defense is a drawer of mismatched parts, the hitting in key situations hasn't been nearly as good as the hitting overall. If you watched them leave 13 runners on base Wednesday night, maybe you noticed that, with two outs, the Twins went 0-for-8 with a walk and a hit batsman. (It wasn't 0-for-9 only because Sean Burroughs grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, ending a five-run inning in which he also made the first out.)
The Red Sox came to town struggling and left on a three-game winning streak.
The Twins played one disastrous game and two that were exciting. 1 + 2 = 3 more losses.
The end result for the Twins: A five-game losing streak and a 5-14 record. Monday's loss, as much as everyone wants to blame Matt Capps for the ninth-inning home run he gave up to Cody Ross, was aided and abetted by poor outfield defense. Parmelee in left, Span in center and Doumit in right sounds like an exhibition day afternoon alignment, not something you should pay for at Target Field.
All three games featured crummy starting pitching. I remember the word "warrior" being attached to Jason Marquis by one of the TV guys on Monday, but that was still five runs and 11 hits in six-plus inning -- and you'd be right to debate Gardy's letting Marquis go out for that plus inning when Ross bombed his other home run. Nick Blackburn and Liam Hendriks were worse. Much worse.
After Tuesday's thumping -- seven innings for me at Target Field and home in time for the final out -- Gardy said something about needing to use the guys they have. That's a summary of a longer and grumpier response in the TV part of the postgame dissection. If that's the case, then it's up to Gardy and Rick Anderson and Joe Vavra to move the starting pitching toward competence and get more intelligent at-bats from the offense. (How many outside pitches are being pulled into weak grounders?)
The way the Twins are playing, there are no "easy portions" to their schedule. Kansas City is here this weekend and fans will be treated to a series between teams with two of the three worst records in the majors. The Royals broke a 10-game losing streak Wednesday and are 4-14.
Speaking of fans, one friend tweeted during the Red Sox series: "Pleased #twins season ticket holder rep called to upgrade tonight's seats to lower deck. Sad because this is edging into #twolves territory."
Lots of times you can look at a team that gets off to a bad start and know it won't continue. Boston isn't going to continue at the pace they played at through the first couple weeks of the season. Neither are the Angels, who are 6-12 and still waiting for Albert Pujols (batting .222) to hit a home run.
The Twins? At the current pace, they'll lose 119.4 games.
Let's round that to 120. Right now, I don't doubt that could happen.
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