Monday, August 17, 2009

With A Whimper

A week after I officially stuck my fork in 'em, Aaron Gleeman--a man far more versed in the subject matter than I ever could hope to be--arrives at the same conclusion regarding the Twins:

Michael Cuddyer homered, Justin Morneau and Carlos Gomez each had two hits with an RBI, Scott Baker tossed eight innings of one-run ball, and Joe Nathan closed out a road victory over the Rangers on July 18 as the Twins moved to a season-high three games above .500 at 47-44. Since then they've gone 9-17 despite averaging nearly 5.5 runs per game, as the pitching staff has imploded to the tune of 6.5 runs per game while allowing double-digit runs eight times.

During those 26 games Joe Mauer hit nearly .400 with an OPS over 1.000, Morneau and Jason Kubel both provided a .900 OPS with plenty of power, Denard Span got on base at a .380 clip, and Orlando Cabrera hit safely in all but two games since coming over from the A's. Yet here we are in mid-August and the Twins are in the midst of an awful funk that has seen every starter except Baker get rocked on a nightly basis and the bullpen cough up nearly a run per inning when Nathan or Matt Guerrier aren't in.

Detroit and Chicago are mediocre enough that the Twins aren't completely out of the playoff picture yet, but at 56-61 and six games back in the AL Central it's tough to imagine this team making a serious run down the stretch. Sure, their remaining schedule is favorable, but the Twins just lost four of six home games to the fourth-place Indians and fifth-place Royals, and now travel to Texas for a four-game set against the Wild Card-leading Rangers.

The pathetic nature of the Twins most recent homestand should have removed any remaining doubt about where this team is going.

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