Twins fans have recently heard some very sad news concerning the deteriorating health of the prodigious slugger Harmon Killebrew. He has checked into a hospice to start the final phase of his life. This obviously is more important than what is currently taking place on the field, but that action is not going to put a smile on anyone’s face either. “Whatever can go wrong will,” is a fatalistic view, but it is certainly the case with the Twins thus far this season.
Justin Morneau is still hitting around two hundred with very limited power while Joe Mauer languishes on the sidelines with bilateral leg weakness. The lack of production from these two is very noticeable to Twins fans because so much was expected of them. Two surprising parts to the demise of the team overall are the high earned run average from the pitching staff and the amount of walks that they have given up.
Joe Nathan is the highest paid middle reliever in game-raking in eleven million dollars this year and Carl Pavano hasn’t lived up the promise that he had going into Opening Day. Twins pitching has been giving up close to five runs a game. That type of number might have flown back in the Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds days, but it is nowhere near adequate in 2011. They don’t even play in the dome anymore and the temperatures haven’t heated up yet. That is a scary thought!
At least Delmon Young is returning from a strained left oblique. That takes some of the sting away from the fact that Mauer hasn’t taken the field in over a month. The most distressing thing is that there is no timetable for his return either. The recent deaths of Robert Traylor, NBC Chicago sportscaster Darryl Hawks and Derek Boogaard have rocked the sports world. Their untimely departures have proven and reminded us of the fragility of life, even for those who are the best physically among us.
Jason Kubel continues to be a bright spot in the line-up.
He is among the league leaders in batting average and is hitting with authority all over the field. The switch to natural grass has certainly made him a more durable every day player. The bottom line is that too many players are on the disabled list for the Twins to have any long-term hope for success. Manager Ron Gardenhire has only won about a third of the games played so far and he is not at fault for this.
The team finally has provided a healthy payroll north of one hundred and ten million and then a substantial amount of the players were injured. With that kind of money already committed to the current roster, General Manager Bill Smith is unlikely to go out and obtain a bat from a team out of contention near the trade deadline.
Realistically, the Twins would be more likely to be on the giving end of that scenario at this juncture. It’s time for the club to do the small things fundamentally. That is only way that they have a chance to stay in ball games.