Minnesota Twins Sunday Wrap-Up: Cracks show in tough Third Week

Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins hits a three-run home run against the Kansas City Royals. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins hits a three-run home run against the Kansas City Royals. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Twins wrapped the week with their first losing streak, three losses against bad teams, but there are some positives to be seen in Week Three.

Each Sunday, I’ll go over the week that was for the Minnesota Twins, the AL Central, and the MLB news that matters in Minnesota. This week, the unstoppable juggernaut that has been the Twins hit their first rough period, and it was a surprising one.

Last week, I talked about how good the bullpen is, but also how the lineup needs to wake up and start putting together more runs. This came back to bite the Twins badly, as they lost three straight to bad teams while only scoring 13 runs over those games. I break down that, and more for this week for the Twins.

Minnesota Twins Tough Week 3: Injuries, Walk-Offs, Notes, and More

Before I go into my typical notes, just some information on this Twins offense. Since their opening series against the White Sox, the Minnesota Twins offense has scored just seven runs once and is desperately struggling to get off the ground.

Only Jorge Polanco, Nelson Cruz, and Marwin Gonzalez have batting averages over .240, and the team cannot get hits, ranking eighth in the American League. The Twins have scored an average of 4.1 runs per game since that White Sox Series. This can’t keep going.

The Twins will not beat the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, or Chicago Cubs with those numbers. They can’t even beat the Royals with those numbers. They might not get out of the first round without more offense. Something has to change. Now onto the notes:

  • The Twins’ three game losing streak has earned them two first for the season: first losing streak and first series loss. The walk-off loss against the Pirates was just tough, but losing a series to the Royals is worse. These past three games have been hard to watch.
  • Though the Twins went 4-3 this week against some bad teams, there are some excuses to be made. The starting rotation is ravaged by injuries, Josh Donaldson is still out, and the bullpen is overworked. The pitching wasn’t great, but it isn’t really their fault.
  • Moving Josh Donaldson to the injured list was the right move, but it’s a move that should have happened a while ago. The Twins could have used another pitcher in that time as soon as it became clear Donaldson wouldn’t be immediately ready. That was a bad move for the Twins to make, and I think it cost them.
  • Rich Hill, Homer Bailey, and Zack Littell are all still on the IL, which hurts the Twins pitching depth greatly. Bullpen days are good, but they use a lot of arms, so when those three guys return, expect the Twins pitching to return closer to form.
  • Taylor Rogers‘ blown save was the Twins’ first since last September, but it had to happen at some point. The team has struggled to bounce back from the deflating loss, and that’s one of the reasons the streak got started.
  • Now for the good in a disappointing week: Nelson Cruz earned the Twins’ first walk off since last year, and it was a fun one to watch. They shouldn’t have been down to the woeful Pirates, but it was great to see the Twins work to come back and then be rewarded by this:
  • Byron Buxton has been on FIRE recently, with four hits, three homers, and six RBI in his past three games. He has raised his batting average 122 points since Tuesday and looks to be really getting going. Let’s hope it continues today.

Around the AL Central: Taking a Look at the Minnesota Twins Rivals

  • Detroit Tigers (7-5): Through the first quarter of the season, the Detroit Tigers are second in the division. They hit a good amount of homers (21, fourth in AL) and have a solid bullpen (sixth in AL in saves). They won’t keep this up, but for a beaten down fanbase, this is fun to see.
  • Cleveland Indians (9-7): After a 4-3 week, and struggling in series against the White Sox and Reds, the Indians are facing an upwards climb in a suddenly competent division. The culprit? Their awful lineup. Outside of being No. 1 in the AL in walks, the Indians rank in the bottom five in almost every offensive category, including ranking last in batting average (.196 team BA)
  • Chicago White Sox (8-7): Just like the Twins and Indians, the White Sox went 4-3 this week. Their lineup has been excellent, with the No. 1 team batting average in the AL, but their awful pitching (12th in ERA, 14th in hits) just keeps giving up runs.
  • Kansas City Royals (6-10): This Royals lineup can be very good (2nd in BA, 4th in Runs, 1st in Hits, 6 in HR), but the pitching is ranked at or near the bottom in every category except ERA and strikeouts. They won’t make the playoffs, but that lineup can put up a lot as the Twins saw yesterday.

Around the MLB: Looking at important Minnesota Twins-related news around the league.

  • The St. Louis Cardinals still haven’t played since they left Minnesota on July 29th as the team deals with their COVID-19 outbreak. They have had twelve games postponed so far this season and will miss even more. The team must get this under control, as even the Marlins have returned to play.
  • Speaking of the Marlins, the team is 7-2 and has continued to win since returning from their own COVID postponements. As someone who has felt for the Marlins during their continued playoff drought, it’s very cool to see.
  • Former Twin Chase de Jong signed a minor league deal with the the Astros and was sent to their alternative training site.
  • Last thing: If you haven’t heard about the Yoenis Cespedes drama, and his opting out of the season mid-game, you should look into it. The story is the most Mets thing to occur, and a slightly amusing situation that makes me glad the Twins don’t have any players like that.\

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