My poor Minnesota Twins are having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season of epic proportion. It famously ain’t over ’til it’s over, but here at the one-third mark, after 54 games, it ain’t lookin’ good.
Put it this way: If the Twins continue to play at the abysmal .296 rate they have for the first two months of the season, they’ll win only 48 games. Which means losing 114! Which beats their previous worst (102 in 1982) by a good long margin.
Suffice to say we Twins fans are all feeling a bit stunned.
Last year the Twins seemed to recover from a slump dating back to the very end of the 2010 season.
While 1982 is the team’s worst year — so far, ha! — with a win-loss record of 60-102 (.370), and 1981 (a strike-shortened year) is close runner up with 41-68 (.376), among the other worst 12 Twins’ seasons are 2011 (.389, tied for #3), 2012 and 2013 (.407, tied with each other for #6) and 2014 (.432, tied for #10).
So when the team is playing .296 in 2016, it’s cause for concern. Especially when things don’t show any signs of improvement in the second month (in fact, some things get worse).
Here are the basic batting stats so far:
The season started rough with nine consecutive losses — swept by the Baltimore Orioles, the KC Royals, and the Chicago White Sox. Then we swept the LA Angels (in a home series, which was nice) to break the streak, but we went only 4-8 in the rest of April, ending the month at 7-17 (.292).
Hitting picked up slightly in May — mostly noticeable in the higher runs per game (4.11, still below league average of about 4.30) and in the OPS. But the Twins still only played .294 on the month. (The main thing to know about OPS is that anything below .700 is not pro.)
With only three games so far in June, it’s too early to say of the uptick in the averages means anything. Let’s hope so.
Because pitching isn’t much better:
Oddly, pitching went the opposite way of the batting. It was pretty good in April (especially the bullpen) — the Twins just weren’t scoring any runs. Then, when the batting picked up a bit in May, the pitching went completely to hell (and starters had a hard time going deep into games).
June, again, shows some sign of improvement (at least in the bullpen) and starters are going deeper, but with only three games, it’s too soon to count on a trend.
So it’s been a disappointing — and at times weird — season. Losing the first nine and then sweeping the Angels was weird. We have an away series with them starting June 13th. Hopefully we continue to do well against the AL-West.
It was also weird sweeping the AL-West top team, the Seattle Mariners, in late May and then being, in turn, swept by the worst team in the AL-West, the Oakland Athletics.
That was like the time Jose Berrios, another rookie Twins pitcher, beat unbeatable Houston Astros pitching ace Dallas Keuchel. Weird! (Berrios ended up not working out and has been sent down to AAA for more seasoning.)
Baseball is like that, and I’m increasingly convinced the odds of any one baseball game approach 50/50. “Worst” teams beat “best” teams all the time; there is so much luck involved.
The thing I notice the most is that, after last year gave us the impression the Twins could compete, this year removes all hope. The four-game winning streak in April evaporated, and so did the one in May. Nothing seems to be working for the team right now.
The question fans are asking is: Why? What’s going on?
I’ve read a lot of articles by a variety of observers, and when it’s all said and done, I can safely say: No one seems to have a clue.
Which, right there, seems like a problem to me. How do you fix a problem if you don’t even know what’s wrong?
In any event, the Twins’ 2016 season is all but lost at this point, and we fans get to watch four more months of hopeless baseball.
Maybe, just maybe, with no pressure on the team, at least they’ll have some fun.
They ain’t having any now, that’s for sure.