Minnesota Twins Sunday Wrap-Up: Things Fall Apart in Week 6

In the middle of one of their longest losing streaks of the season, the Minnesota Twins stumble out of first place in the tough American League Central.

Last week, the Minnesota Twins pushed through injuries to go 5-2 and hold their lead atop what is becoming the toughest division in the MLB. This week, the team didn’t lose any more players, but they did manage to lose series against the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers.

The team went 2-4, and now sit a game and a half behind the Cleveland Indians and a game behind the Chicago White Sox. Third place isn’t acceptable, even with the fifth best winning percentage in the AL. We dig into a tough week in Twins Territory and more in our Week 6 Sunday Wrap-Up.

Things Fall Apart for the Minnesota Twins: Trade Rumors, Losses, and More

  • There’s an award-winning book called Things Fall Apart, written by Chinua Achebe, that depicts a man who has everything he has known fall apart in front of his eyes, and something similar happened to the Twins this week. Everything that had propped up their fragile division lead, disappeared:
    • Randy Dobnak, who was pitching very well most of the season (though was due for some regression), got pounded by a toothless Detroit lineup. Giving up 6 runs in 4.1 innings and almost doubling your ERA against a bad team isn’t a good look.
    • What little offense the Twins were displaying also disappeared. The Twins scored just 2.83 runs per game, which won’t win you any games, and only Nelson Cruz, Luis Arraez, and the white-hot Miguel Sano seem capable of hitting. It’s hard to watch.
    • The team now sits in the bottom five of the American League for batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, and total bases. To top it off, the team is fifth in just the AL in homers, where they set a record last year.
    • Lastly, the bullpen hasn’t been all that great recently either. Trevor May (4.26), Sergio Romo (4.22), and Taylor Rogers (4.76) have seen their ERA jump way up. What was once the team’s biggest strength has fallen to pieces.
  • In the end of the book, things go all the way bad for the main character Okonkwo. The Minnesota Twins aren’t there yet. Unfortunately, unless the Twins turn everything around really soon, the team may let the division slip out of its grasp.
  • The only really positive thing I can say for the Twins is that Jose Berrios looks slightly less bad and the Twins can trust that Kenta Maeda will continue to pitch like an absolute ace. The Twins need more reliable starts like that. Hopefully when Michael Pineda gets back (just four more days!), he pitches like he did at the end of last year and adds more stability.
  • Starting Pitching was a need last year and it is one again this year. Any reasonably priced reliable arm should be a must for consideration, even if the team can’t land the desired ace. The deadline is tomorrow, and the Twins should make a move by then. The bullpen is way too overworked, leading me to my final thought.
  • My final thought for the Twins: no more bullpen games. They work great in theory and work in practice, but only if the starters can pitch six innings on other nights. The relievers on this team are phenomenal, but I worry that this may take a toll later in the year.

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

  • Cleveland Indians (21-12): Another 4-2 week has seen Cleveland finally work their way ahead of the Twins. The offense is showing at least a little life (5.33 runs per game this week), and the pitching hasn’t slowed at all without Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger. Now both are coming back and Cleveland looks dangerous again.
  • Chicago White Sox (20-13): Man, this offense is good. Over just five games this week, the team scored 27 runs (5.4 per game) and only allowed 16. Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, and Dylan Cease are three good starters backed by a reliable bullpen and an offense that is first in average, slugging percentage, and third in OBP. They are as good as I thought they’d be.
  • Detroit Tigers (15-16): The Tigers had the best week of any team in the division, taking series victories from the Chicago Cubs (the NL Central leaders) and the Twins while scoring six runs per game. Outside of Spencer Turnbull, their pitching is still truly awful, but their offense has been significantly better than the Twins in 2020. Yikes.
  • Kansas City Royals (13-20): Comfortably the worst team in the division, the Royals went 2-4 this week while scoring 5.16 runs per game (still a way better mark than the Twins). Their starting pitching (outside of Brad Keller) is terrible, which is a recipe for a last place finish in a tough division.

Around the MLB: Important Minnesota Twins-related news around the league

  • The Kansas City Royals traded RHP Trevor Rosenthal  to the San Diego Padres for OF prospect Edward Olivares and OF Brett Phillips to the Rays for INF prospect Lucius Fox. Olivares is now the No. 22 prospect and Fox is No. 26 in the Royals system, a nice boost for two players that weren’t in the teams long-term plans.
  • The White Sox also made a deal, adding speedy outfielder Jarrod Dyson from the Pirates for future considerations. Dyson won’t make any hitting impact with his new team, but he’s a valuable defender and pinch-running substitute for late innings.
  • Trevor Bauer will not be traded by the Cincinnati Reds as the team makes a playoff push, meaning the Minnesota Twins won’t be able to acquire him despite their interest. The Twins are now instead looking at Dylan Bundy of the Angels. It’ll be a weird and wacky trade deadline, but we’re ready, excited, and hopeful.