The Twins have officially lost their edge, and Gardy is going to have a hard time getting it back in time for the playoffs. During an ugly 10-1 loss to the Royals in Kansas City last night, there was a giant sucking sound from all portions of the Twins as the losing streak extended to five games. Offense? Five hits, only one of them for extra bases, against Royals starter Sean O'Sullivan (he of the 6+ ERA entering the game). And only one run despite six walks, a result of 10 runners left on base and 1-10 with runners in scoring position. Pitching? Even if the hitters managed to knock in a few runs, it wouldn't have mattered as Nick Blackburn gave up 8 hits and 8 runs over his short 4.1 inning start. By the time he left the game, the Royals had an 8-0 lead and the game was pretty much over. Defense? There's not too much the defense can do about a 3-run homer from Kila Ka'aihue in the first, or his solo shot in the third, or Josh Fields' 2-run homer off Glen Perkins in the 7th. But Nick Blackburn's errant pickoff throw in the second didn't do him any favors.
Where to go from here? Considering that Blackburn is still in line for a potential ALDS Game 4 start, getting bombed by the Royals does not instill confidence. Then again, while Scott Baker's last outing against the Cleveland Indians was decent enough, does anyone think he's ready to go deep in a playoff start? Perhaps the losing streak is simply a matter of getting an ALDS sweep (and then some) out of the way early this year.