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Those Duke Boys Were In A Heap of Trouble

And old Uncle Jesse was in no position to lend a helping hand.

The Dukes of Hazard.  Bat-Man and Robin.  Duck Tales.  What do all these shows have in common?  That the protagonists, even if it took more than one episode, managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at the very last second on more than one occasion.  The 2006 Twins pulled off something like this, although that might be more akin to Huey, Dewey and Louie saving Uncle Scrooge's fortune from Glomgold after the show was over.  And even then, only because Launchpad McQuack crashed into Glomgold's time machine that he stole from Gyro, when Launchpad was unknowingly transporting/flying/crashing stolen goods that belonged to the Beagle Boys.

Of course the White Sox did the Twins yet another favor by losing on Wednesday, keeping the second-place Minnesota squad a mere 2.5 games out.  Interestingly enough, it's not the young starting rotation that's the weakness of this team, in spite of Scott Baker's short outing last night.  And if we're going by runs per game, it's not the punchless offense, no matter how frustratingly aggressive or inconsistent they can be.  The problems continue to stem from the bullpen and the defense.

Baseball is a team game, and I'm not trying to get away from that fact.  But in the bottom of the seventh inning last night, just as the offense bought their pitching staff two runs to tie the game, Jose Mijares and Matt Geurrer combined to give that two-run lead right back to the Indians.  On Tuesday night it was Eddie Guardado and Joe Nathan who were unable to hold a lead after the offense fought back from an 8-1 deficit.  Francisco Liriano and Baker did their team no favors, but they've been keeping runs off the board and giving their team a chance consistently.  The bullpen, even at the end with Nathan, is anything but.

Over the course of this three-game series, the defense committed four errors.  In game one Carlos Gomez guns down Jhonny Peralta, then erases that plus in the fielding column by booting one the next night.  Bad throws, bad relays; all additional chances that this team is getting accustomed to handing out.  And it's not just inability, such as the lack of range at third base or Delmon Young's uncomfortable presence in left field, but it's lack of concentration and bad decisions.  All teams in this game try to do the best with what they have, and I don't think I'm being too critical by saying the Twins aren't.  Not if the first four months of this season are more accurate about the fortunes of the club than the last six weeks...but I'm starting to question that as well.

A friend of mine left a message on my Facebook wall last night, telling me it was like the majority of players with the Twins are used to playing seasons that last 120 games.  Even with the youth on board I'm not sure it's entirely accurate, but it's certainly giving me something to think about.  It's hard to argue the fact that over the last few weeks this has been a different team.

The Minnesota Twins are one of the youngest teams in baseball, and it's showing right now.  What makes it harder to swallow is that not only are the veterans getting in on the act, but in spite of it all the Chicago White Sox have thus far refused to cut the scene.  The tape keeps rolling, and we keep watching, like some six-month long television drama (or cartoon, Duck Tales fans) that's just waiting for the main character to snap out of it and do what all protagonists do:  their jobs.