July 4, 2021

So much for making a stand against the AL Central

A week ago there was optimism. The Twins had taken two of three games from the Cleveland Indians, improved to 10 games under .500, moved as high as third place in the division, and facing a new month of games against division rivals, it appeared that maybe, just maybe, the Twins were ready to turn the page.

Instead, they showed up in Chicago ready to make a stand against the division-leading White Sox and were whipped like Custer, losing 7-6, 13-3 and 8-5. The three-game losing streak is now five games after the Twins lost Friday and Saturday to the Kansas City Royals. All of this means the Twins are now 15 games under .500 and dead last in the division.

It is clear, and maybe it has been clear since Game 1 of the 2021 season, that the Twins do not have enough quality starting pitching. Their rotation at the moment consists of rookie pitchers, Bailey Ober, Griffin Jax and veterans J.A. Happ, Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios, which is another way of saying that the Twins’ best chance of winning comes once every five days when Berrios takes the mound. Is a team going to contend with that strength of pitching? It most certainly is not.

There have been casualties along the way. Pitcher Matt Shoemaker was jettisoned (designated for assignment), ending his short and unproductive tenure with the Twins. There also are now rumors that third baseman Josh Donaldson is a trade target for the New York Mets, according to various reports, although that talk may have fallen silent Saturday after Donaldson pulled up lame at second base with a tight hamstring. He is now day-to-day with the injury, according to MLB.com.

Would the Twins trade Donaldson? I think they just might. Donaldson, of late, has been all bluster and brash, the kind of player who has never really found a home with the Twins. In fact, I can’t think an ex-Twin who made his name by rocking the boat. And the Twins do need pitching.

Kenta Maeda gets the ball on Sunday.

Extra innings…

-I’ve enjoyed listening to former Twins pitcher and Hall of Famer (in my book, anyway) Jim Kaat, who has recently been paired with TV play-by-play man Dick Bremer for Twins games. Bremer asked Kaat on Saturday who he thought the Twins’ biggest rivals were in the 1960s. Kaat mentioned the New York Yankees, of course, but also the Baltimore Orioles, who the Twins faced in the postseason twice: 1969-70.

-And wouldn’t you know it? I watched a documentary Saturday night about Ted Williams and there was Kaat again, being interviewed about facing Teddy Ballgame. In September 1959, Kaat appeared in three games for the Washington Senators and made two starts, one of which was against the Boston Red Sox, according to Baseball-Reference.com. How did he do? Not so well. He lasted all of four outs and gave up a single and double to Williams.

Although Kaat struggled, Harmon Killebrew went 4-for-5 with a double and home run, No. 42 of the season.


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.