May 2, 2016

Twins begin May just like April — with a loss

So much for putting the losses behind you.

The Twins, who won only seven of 24 games in April — including nine straight losses to start the season — didn’t make the case for a clean slate on Sunday after they lost their first game of the new month. They also were swept by the Detroit Tigers and fell 11 games under .500.

What can one say? The Twins are not playing well, and if they don’t get things turned around soon, they will find themselves in an even deeper hole with no chance of escape. Frankly, the team may have sealed its fate with its beginning-of-the-season losing streak.

Sunday’s game hurt because the Twins grabbed a 5-2 lead against ex-Twin Mike Pelfrey and then let it slip away. Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who was sharp early, eventually gave up five earned runs, and then the bullpen got hung with the loss. Final score: 6-5, Tigers.

The Twins banged out 11 hits, including six hits from Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano.

But after the heart of the order did its job — and it has done its job, for the most part, since the start of the season — those getting on base aren’t coming around to score at a rate they should. Yes, the Twins miss Trevor Plouffe. At the same time, where is the clutch hitting? The Twins on Sunday were 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position — an area they have struggled with all season — and left 16 men on base.

Some aggressive, ill-timed base running on Sunday also snuffed out any chance of a rally. Sano doubled late in the game but tried to stretch it to a triple and was thrown out at third to end the game.

Strib columnist Patrick Reusse unloaded on the Twins after Sunday’s performance.

The Twins’ 7-18 start is an embarrassment for General Manager Terry Ryan, manager Molitor, hitting coach Tom Brunansky, pitching coach Neil Allen and roughly 81 percent of the 32 players who have been in uniform.

I’d give a pass to Joe Mauer, Eduardo Nunez, Byung Ho Park, Trevor Plouffe (pre-injury), Ryan Pressly and Fernando Abad at the moment.

That’s it. Everyone else has failed.

And there’s one more embarrassed individual: portly old me.

I watched this outfit for a month in March and wrote a column on the 2016 Twins with the punchline, “What’s not to like?’’

A month into the schedule, I have the answer: Hitting, fielding, pitching, base running and managing.

After the lousy base running, Reusse retold a tale shared with him by former Twin Rob Wilfong, who also played for the California Angels under manager Gene Mauch. Wilfong, as a pinch-runner, once tried to tag up from first base on a fly-out to center but was thrown out at second to end the game — with Reggie Jackson coming to the plate.

According to Wilfong:

Mauch did not play him or speak to him for the next several days. Mauch would simply turn from his usual stance on a dugout step on occasion, stare in dismay at Wilfong, shake his head and look back at the action.

Jose Berrios gets the ball on Monday.

 

April 28, 2016

Berrios, Twins lose game against Indians

Top pitching prospect Jose Berrios made his major league debut on Wednesday, but things didn’t go as planned after he gave up five earned runs over four innings. He also walked two and hit a batter, but still had five strikeouts. A rally late in the game fell short and the Twins lost 6-5. Berrios... Continue Reading »

April 27, 2016

Twins’ Jose Berrios set to make his MLB pitching debut on Wednesday

After being swept on the road by the Washington Nationals — the birthplace of the Twins, by the way — the pitching staff emerged in sorry shape. Kyle Gibson is headed to the disabled list, as is Ervin Santana. And Rice University product Tyler Duffey, who was called up to spell Santana, took a liner... Continue Reading »

April 24, 2016

Twins on the verge of being swept by Nationals

Just when I thought it was safe to celebrate a Twins’ 8-1 victory over the Brewers — and I read way more into the win than I should have — the team heads to Washington, D.C. (the birthplace of the Twins, by the way) and drops two in a row for the third time in... Continue Reading »

April 21, 2016

Consecutive losses return as Twins fall to Brewers

After nine straight losses, followed by four consecutive wins, the Twins have returned to familiar territory with back-to-back losses, including a 10-5 defeat on Wednesday to the Brewers. Questionable defense in right field was the problem on Tuesday, but on Wednesday the attention shifted to left field and Oswaldo Arcia who had an error and... Continue Reading »

April 20, 2016

Tuesday’s loss raises fresh questions about Miguel Sano as a right fielder

The four-game winning streak came to an end Tuesday after the Twins lost 6-5 to the Milwaukee Brewers at Target Field. Key to the loss were two errors, one of which was committed by Miguel Sano in right field which allowed three unearned runs in the fifth inning. Yikes. Sano botches a line drive to... Continue Reading »

April 19, 2016

Twins extend winning streak to 4 games

Losing streak? What losing streak? The Twins are quickly making the baseball world forget their horrible start after they knocked off the Milwaukee Brewers in a rain-shortened game on Monday, extending the team’s winning streak to four games. After wait of 2:06, Twins declared winner, 7-4 over Brewers, after 6 innings due to rain. First... Continue Reading »

April 18, 2016

Twins end 9-game losing streak with sweep of Angels

The nine-game losing streak is over after the Twins not only captured their first win of the season but won consecutive games to sweep the Angels at Target Field. As my late, legendary high school coach Scott Muckey would say, "Well, we know one thing. We're not gonna lose them all." 😎 — Trevor Plouffe... Continue Reading »

April 12, 2016

Home cooking makes no difference as Twins lose again

Oh, boy. As if things needed to get worse, the Twins played their home opener on Monday before 40,000-plus fans, but before it was over the booing started and fans left early after the team stumbled to its seventh loss in seven games, losing 4-1 to the Chicago White Sox. That’s right: the Twins are... Continue Reading »

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Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.