Now or Never for the Minnesota Twins

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Minnesota Twins Designated Hitter Jim Thome

At the time of this blog the Twins have only won nine of twenty-five games this season. There is also a surprise in the American League East cellar with the Boston Red Sox currently as its occupant.

The recent absence of Jim Thome from the line-up has taken out some of its pop. The wildness of the pitchers is a major concern. One of the aspects of Twins baseball has been to throw the ball over the plate and to keep it down. If this is not occurring, then some disastrous results are on the horizon because the club does not have the type of pitchers with the stuff to walk numerous batters and make up for it with strikeouts.

The doubleheader loss at home to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday was a kick to the groin. The blowout in the first contest led to a lackluster effort in the second. Fans that were present for both of those should demand a refund. They spent an entire day watching sub-par performances from their team that is supposed to contend for the crown in the AL Central. I read a couple of headlines alluding to the bullpen blowing the game to the Royals on Friday night at Target Field.

It is true that the lead Scott Baker had dissipated, but by the same token, the team should be able to score more than three runs in a game. When the record is this bad, it is not simply one aspect that must improve on a ball club. There are numerous parts that need to be addressed.

The deficiencies in the numbers of Delmon Young, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Joe Mauer, and Carl Pavano are insurmountable. That is over half the opening day line-up. It is also the portion that the vast majority of the production came from in the prior season.

It is possible to overcome some obstacles during the course of the schedule, but to have this many players not producing at the same time is inexcusable and unexplainable. I am quite certain that the team is trying to mix up their routine to either take extra batting practice to taking days off. Nothing has obviously produced different results thus far, but all they can do is to keep tinkering until something turns around for them. The only other option would be to cash in the season a month into it, and Ron Gardenhire is not going to permit that scenario. The San Francisco Giants came out of the woodwork last season after the San Diego Padres seemed to have a stranglehold on the NL West, and the Twins could do the same thing this year. It will certainly be an uphill battle though.

Francisco Liriano still publicly has the confidence of his manager, but some in the clubhouse have to be wondering if his best days are behind him. The sharpness of his breaking pitches just doesn’t seem to be there. Even when he is in the strike zone, he is still wild because he is not hitting the targets presented.

–Patrick Herbert

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