Right now the Twins roster contains exactly two guys who meet all of the following criteria:
[ ] Hitting above .210
[ ] Played in more than one game
[ ] Hasn’t spent at least a week on the IL.
Those two: Nelson Cruz and Willians Astudillo.
That probably tells you everything you need to know about the Twins’ season to date. They’ve been bad, but no where near as bad as their record suggests. And they aren’t really that bad, probably, but luck is not their friend. And injury even less so. and Illness.
We just found out that Byron Buxton is going to miss weeks with a grade two hip sprain. He’d missed time here-and-there due to illness, and nursed some bumps-and-bruises, but overall been healthy and playing up to his potential. But this was only the latest body blow to the fortunes of a battered squadron.
Andrelton Simmons, whatever you think of his beliefs about vaccines, caught COVID, and served as the canary in the coal mine for an outbreak that also knocked Max Kepler, Kyle Garlick, JT Riddle, and Caleb Thielbar off the field due to exposure and/or positive tests.
At least those guys made it past their first at bat before getting hurt—Josh Donaldson didn’t. Even though he’s been one of the better Twins since returning, it started the season on a sour tone to see the $20 million man exiting before he could finish a trip around the basepaths. And speaking of bright spots, Alex Kirilloff was looking pretty good before a sore wrist put him on the sidelines. Luis Arraez, too, was looking great before injury. In his case, a concussion, which given the career trajectories of Kirby Puckett, Corey Koskie, Justin Morneau, and Joe Mauer is a terrifying idea.
At least the pitchers have been healthy, just bad. Matt Shoemaker and Alex Colome more than most. Colome has blown an improbable number of saves, although last night may have been a turning of the page? Randy Dobnak had a surprisingly bad start after a shiny new contract. When the pitchers have been good, the hitters have been off. And vice versa.
Most of all, the Twins are an utterly improbable 0-7 in extra inning games. Those should be a 50-50 proposition. You might get a coin flip to come up tails seven times in a row, but you should probably put money on getting heads sooner rather than later if you do.
Some fans might be ready to blame Rocco Baldelli for, well, something. I really don’t understand the arguments. But there is a lot of “FiRe GaRy!!!1” sentiments out there right now. Overall though, the Twins have a positive run differential, and a Pythagorean record that is at least competitive in the AL Central.
All of this to say, there has to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the famously pessimistic Minnesota sports fans. But right now, even your resident eternal optimist is frustrated. Its been a rough six weeks, but fortunately there is a lot of season left.