April is over for the Twins
By Editorial Staff
With a 4-3 loss against the Angels, the Twins have closed out a disappointing first month of the season.
They own a 6-16 record, a record that is the worst in the Major Leagues and also worse than their April performance last season. The Twins’ 9-17 April from 2011 was considered a disaster at the time, but the current version of the Twins would have to win three of its next four games in order to match it.
Through one month, the statistics tell the tale of the Twins’ slide. They are last in the American League in home runs (14), ninth in slugging percentage (.393), and 10th in runs scored (87). On the mound, they have allowed more hits than any other AL team (216), and only Toronto has allowed more than the 34 home runs the Twins have served up. Minnesota is dead last in ERA (5.64) and strikeouts (107) with a rate of 5.1 whiffs per nine innings, more than two strikeouts per game below the league average.
The Twins have won one series, split two, and lost four, including three sweeps at the hands of the Orioles, Rangers, and Red Sox.
April was not a complete disaster, though. By this time last year, Joe Mauer, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Kevin Slowey, and Delmon Young were all on the Disabled List. Jim Thome and Jason Repko joined them in the first few days of May. Aside from Mauer, none of those players are with the Twins anymore. Mauer is hitting as well as he did the first two times he won the batting title, with a .325/.419/.438 line. He played every game this April other than the last one, and even then he was ready to pinch hit when the game ended. The Twins have not totally avoided injuries, of course, but Baker is the only player currently on the Disabled List.
One more positive note: the Twins have received back to back quality starts in their last two games. Jason Marquis went six innings in a win over the Royals, and Nick Blackburn held the Angels’ star-stocked lineup to three runs in six innings yesterday. This pitching staff is never going to dominate opponents, and it would be foolish to expect complete game shutouts from them. If they could start going six to seven innings on a regular basis and not giving up runs in bunches, though, the Twins could rebound from a nasty April.
At this point, you have to look for hopeful signs anywhere you can find them.