After an incredible start to the season, things have started to go off the rails for the Minnesota Twins.
To say that though is to imply that there’s an element of speed invovled, which isn’t even on the list of descriptions for how the Twins offense is operating. Minnesota has proven to either be white hot or ice cold, capable of scoring 11-runs as much as the offense can struggle to scrap together more than a few of them.
On Saturday at Target Field everything went wrong, and the worst parts of the team showed itself. The result was a 10-4 blowout loss to a hapless Nationals team that will be lucky if it doesn’t cross the triple-digit loss barrier this season.
Washington looked anything but the subpar team its looked like most of the season, battering Pablo Lopez and chasing him after four innings of work. From there the Nats blew up the Twins bullpen, handing the team its sixth loss in seven games.
Minnesota is 1-6 since winning thrilling back-to-back games in the Bronx last week. What the team has looked like over that stretch is both a shell of what fans were expecting to see but perhaps unsettlingly prophetic of what the future might hold if the offensive woes continue.
The Twins pitching had been so great that it was able to mitigate the anemic antics at the plate. Saturday was an example of what happens when pitching can’t cover for struggles on offense and it wasn’t pretty.
Rocco Baldelli comments on Twins 10-4 loss to the Nationals
After the game, Baldelli was very to-the-point in explaining what happened and what has been going wrong over the Twins recent losing streak.
“We’re not playing well, that we know. Every guy in that room knows we’re not playing the way that we need to,” Baldelli said. “Most of the games haven’t been like this, though. This was a challenging game on both side of the ball for us. We’ve been competitive in a lot of the other games. We’ve lost a couple of very tough ballgames, improbably.”
Nothing went right for the Twins, from Lopez getting chased to continued struggles at the plate for guys like Carlos Correa, Jose Miranda, and Max Kepler. Things have been particularly bad for Kepler, who some fans questioned whether his knee was still bothering him given some of the effort he’s given on the basepaths the last few games.
Despite the losing streak, Rocco reassured everyone that it’s the season is a marathon and nobody is fraying at the edges this early in the season.
“No one’s losing their minds or doing anything in that clubhouse that I’m concerned with in any way,” Baldelli said. “I think we just need to keep competing and keep our heads on straight.”
The losing streak has prevented the Twins from taking advantage of similar struggles by the rest of the AL Central. Cleveland overtook Minnesota for first place after the loss to the Nationals, but are technically tied for that lead. Detroit and Chicago both only have seven wins, but are less than four games behind the Guardians and Twins.
It’s frustrating to see a start like the Twins had squandered, but nothing about that can be changed. What can, however, is finding ways to wake up an offense that feels like it’s still in Fort Myers and needs to start giving an excellent starting staff the consistent run support it deserves.
Otherwise days like Saturday will become the norm and there’s no faster way to undo any good will the team earned than that.