Losing three in a row dropped the Twins below both Cleveland and Chicago—not a place they should get accustomed to being probably, but one that could easily become home if the breaks go the wrong way.
Jake Odorizzi has been on the IL twice, as has Rich Hill. Homer Bailey still is and will be out for awhile. The attrition isn’t just among the starting pitchers, although it is most pronounced there. Zach Littell is on the IL too, and was supposed to be a mid-inning piece in the bullpen. Position players Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton, and Mitch Garver are all on the IL—and Luis Arraez and now Eddie Rosario are nursing minor injuries too. Too many pieces are falling, and while the Twins have great depth to replace them, there is only so much depth. Eventually the injuries add up to derail a promising season
Find another starter
Randy Dobnak has been an unexpected hero, and the Twins have needed him. With all the injuries and Jose Berrios’ apparent command issues, his steady presence has been great, but he is coming back to earth a bit. Michael Pineda will be back soon, but hasn’t pitched in over a year, and has a lot of rust to shake off. The Twins could certainly use an “ace” but probably won’t get one. Still, adding a solid back-of-the-rotation starter would go a long way towards stabilizing the staff. One name they’ve been connected to is Dylan Bundy—who Ben advocated for adding months ago.
Whether its Bundy or someone else, the Twins need help, especially with the White Sox clearly still buying. Bullpen games and spot starts can only get us so far.
Wake the bats up
This has a connection to the first point, as some of the Twins top hitters are injured, but the offense has been pedestrian this year, after being red-hot for all of last season. Theories abound as to why. It could be a de-juicing of the ball, it could be the absence of former hitting coach James Rowson, or it could be the lack of video available in the dugout (which is Nelson Cruz’ theory apparently.) No matter the reason, the Twins need to find a way around it. Even and especially with the pitching staff suffering from the injury bug as well. Scoring two or three runs a game won’t win many games, no matter who’s throwing most of the innings. Even if you have the 2016 Cleveland rotation—and the Twins sure don’t. When its Lewis Thorpe and Sean Poppen, you need to hit a few more out of the park.
What is most important for the Twins to finish strong
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Get a Pitcher
Get the Bats Going
Something Else (tell us in the comments!)