After watching their lineup get decimated by injuries last season, the Twins were hoping they'd have better luck keeping position players healthy in the new campaign. So far, so good in that regard. There have been no broken bones, no bilateral leg weakness, no reemergence of concussion symptoms.
Unfortunately, pitching has been a different story. The Twins lost Joel Zumaya, their projected top right-handed setup option, and Scott Baker, their potential No. 1 starter, before either
Pat Borzi of MinnPost wrote a column last week suggesting that the current iteration of the Twins lacks heart. He drew a comparison to the 2002 team, which was being celebrated during the opening series at Target Field, stating that it's "hard to imagine this roster, especially the younger players, clawing and scrapping like their counterparts from 10 years ago."
I don't know about all that, but I would say this team has been suffering from the absence of
I wasn't in attendance at Monday's home opener, but by all accounts Target Field was mostly lifeless during a 5-1 snoozer that dropped the home team to 0-4 on the season. Through four games, the Twins have scored six runs and haven't held a lead at any point.
The brutal start is making it tough for fans to generate any kind of enthusiasm following a 99-loss campaign in which this type of dreadful play was all too common. It's easy to overreact in situations such as this – consider that
In their opening series against the Orioles, the Twins didn't pitch especially well and they played some horrible defense. But without question, the story of the weekend was a complete lack of offense against a Baltimore staff that led the majors in runs allowed last year.
Despite their late surge with the bats in spring training, the Twins looked totally unprepared for the start of the season, as a mediocre trio of starters were made to look like stars. The lineup tallied only two
Updated 04-09-2012 at 02:25 AM by Nick Nelson
On September 28th of last year, Carl Pavano tossed a five-hit shutout at Target Field, leading the Twins to a 1-0 victory over the Royals. It was the final game of the 2011 season, and its only significance was keeping the Twins from reaching 100 losses – a deflating milestone even if it's virtually no different from 99.
On Friday, Pavano will again be on the mound, this time looking to kick off the 2012 Redemption Tour. Returning after the worst season in
Back when I was in college, I was a huge Golden Gopher hockey fan (well, still am; can't wait to see the boys battle Boston College on Thursday). Since I was majoring in journalism and had an acute interest in sportswriting, I figured it would be wise to seek an opportunity to cover the team for a media outlet.
I ended up landing in a volunteer position with the school radio station. The gig consisted of watching Friday night games from the press box, calling in to give live on-air
* The Twins made their final round of cuts yesterday, sending Brian Dozier, J.R. Towles, Casey Fien and Brian Dinkelman to Rochester. With that, the season-opening 25-man roster has come into clear focus; it will include four starters, eight relievers and – surprisingly – only two catchers.
Drew Butera and J.R. Towles appeared to be battling for the third catcher job, but both will open the campaign in Triple-A, meaning that Ron Gardenhire will have Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit as his
We wrap up the Position Analysis series with a look at the relief corps, which could best be described as "unstable." There's little question that the Twins will proceed with seven relievers and a short bench, as is their standard; to fill those seven spots, they brought a veritable army of flawed pitchers to compete in Ft. Myers.
With a week left to go, it appears that the Twins have settled on which arms they will carry north. As is always the case in spring training, this is subject
Last year, the rotation was an utter disaster, with Twins starters ranking 26th in the majors in ERA and WHIP. Short outings taxed an already ill-equipped bullpen and frequently put games out of reach before the offense had much of a say.
It's not hard to see why these pitchers struggled so badly. Beyond injuries that hindered performance, the starting corps posted a lower strikeout rate than any other AL club; allowing that much contact in front of a substandard defense led to a league-worst
Updated 03-28-2012 at 11:40 PM by Nick Nelson
Likely Starter: Ryan Doumit
2011 Stats: .303/.353/.477, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 17 R, 0/1 SB
Potential Backups: Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer
No team has everything set in stone with two weeks left in spring training. For the Twins, with uncertainties surrounding several players, plenty is subject to change between now and Opening Day. For example, last week I profiled the three outfield spots, and over the weekend it was revealed that two of those
Likely Starter: Josh Willingham
2011 Stats: .246/.332/.477, 29 HR, 98 RBI, 69 R, 4/5 SB
Potential Backups: Trevor Plouffe, Joe Benson, Darin Mastroianni
When he hasn't been needed elsewhere, Michael Cuddyer has spent most of the past six years roaming right field for the Twins. No player has spent more time in front of the big blue baggy and limestone overhang.
Cuddyer was a fan favorite, a media darling and a community
Likely Starter: Denard Span
2011 Stats: .264/.328/.359, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 37 R, 6/7 SB
Potential Backups: Ben Revere, Joe Benson, Darin Mastroianni
A good case can be made that during his first two seasons in the majors, Denard Span was not only one of the most underrated players on the Twins, but in all of baseball. Between 2008 and 2009, Span hit .305/.390/.422 with 41 steals and 63 extra-base hits in 238 games.
When the Twins signed Jason Marquis to a one-year, $3 million contract back in December, Terry Ryan offered this description: "He's a groundball machine and he throws the ball over the plate."
That characterization was only partially accurate. While the sinker-balling right-hander has induced grounders at an extreme rate, painting him as a consistent strike-thrower never passed the sniff test. As Aaron Gleeman astutely noted when the Twins signed him, Marquis' career walk rate is identical
Likely Starter: Ben Revere
2011 Stats: .267/.310/.309, 0 HR, 30 RBI, 56 R, 34/43 SB
Potential Backups: Trevor Plouffe, Darin Mastroianni, Brian Dinkelman
Last year the Twins were the least effective team in all of baseball at converting batted balls into outs. With a pitching staff that allows a ton of contact, that's an enormously troubling statistic.
Lining up Ben Revere as the regular left fielder should certainly