April 26, 2021

This Twins season is starting to feel a lot like 2018

In 2017, the Twins shocked the baseball world, and perhaps themselves, after they were good enough to finish eight games over .500 and claim a spot in the postseason as a wildcard team — all this after losing 103 games in 2016. Twins manager Paul Molitor was named AL Manager of the Year and it appeared the Twins were poised to win again in 2018.

But they did not, finishing a disappointing six games under .500 at 78-84. It was a team that never really clicked or found sustained success. The longest winning streak of the season was a six-game stretch at the very end of September.

Molitor was fired, Rocco Baldelli was hired and the Twins found runaway success in 2019, followed by enough success over a pandemic-shortened season to win the division again in 2020. In the offseason, the Twins made moves to bolster the rotation, added depth to the bullpen and improved the infield defense with one of the best fielders in the game. The Twins would also get a full season out of Josh Donaldson, so once again it appeared that things would be just fine in 2021.

But that has not been the case. Pitching has been mediocre, the offense largely underwhelming and the losing continued Sunday after the Twins dropped their series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, losing 6-2.

Matt Shoemaker allowed two runs in the top of the first, the Twins countered with a run in the bottom half of the inning and then didn’t score again until the eighth inning.

I’m sure many of us viewed the series with the Bucs as a momentum builder. Now, they’ll have to do that in Cleveland on Monday. Jose Berrios gets the ball.

Extra innings…

-The Twins are 7-13. It’s the worst 20-game start for the club since 2016. Ugh. In case you need a reminder, they were 59-103 that season.

-Nelson Cruz hit a solo shot in the eighth, the 424th home run of his career.

-Shoemaker picked off a runner at first base during the game, which is always fun.

-The Baltimore Orioles, of all teams, put an end to the Oakland A’s weirdly incredible 13-game winning streak on Sunday. The O’s won 8-1. Go figure.

COMMENTS

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.