This Twins season is reminding me of a slow movie with a sad ending. Twins fans had high hopes in March when most players returned from last year, and with the signing of Japanese all-star Tsuyoshi Nishioka in December. But, the team kept running into critical problems that all but made this season a disappearing act.
This year, the Twins have had a full, healthy roster for only six days and 25 minutes, and it seems as if it will stay like that. The injury-ravaged Twins problems started on April 7 when Nishioka broke his leg trying to turn a double play in New York. Nishioka landed on the 60-day DL. About a week later, catcher Joe Mauer was sidelined for two months because of the flu and “bilateral leg weakness.” Then it was Glen Perkins, Jim Thome, Delmon Young, Alexi Casilla, Justin Morneau, Denard Span, among others who landed on the DL.
In June, Morneau hurt his wrist and ended up having neck surgery. He returned to the line-up last week. Casilla suffered a Hamstring strain in July which landed him on the DL. He tried to return, but landed on the DL again earlier this month when he reactivated it. Jason Kubel injured his foot in May trying to catch a ball, which placed him on the DL. Finally, Span suffered a concussion June 3 during a play at the plate. Startribune.com reported August 19 that he may not return this season.
It’s not only injuries that are causing this season to disappear; the Twins also have had problems with the bullpen. Twins closer Joe Nathan took himself out of the closer role in May after blowing two saves. His replacement, Matt Capps, has been struggling. Capps has 15 saves and has given up eight home runs this season. Recently, Nathan took back the closer’s role and is improving, while Capps is still having troubles. The whole Twins bullpen has had a down year.
The Twins hitting is off as well. Too many offensive players have been hurt. Mauer is having a difficult year batting .277 with one home run. Promising young star Nishioka is having problems getting accustomed to baseball in America, but he has a bright future. There hasn’t been any power in the line-up with Michael Cuddyer being the home run leader with 18. Every time the Twins offense gets going, it falters.
Also, the Twins have made so many mistakes in the field. The Twins have committed a total of 87 errors so far this year. The middle of the infield has been a train wreck. Nishioka and Casilla have combined for 21 errors. Earlier this year and lately, the Twins infield have bobbled, botched, and overthrown balls. The Twins outfield has been good, except for recently traded Delmon Young. Young, who was traded to Detroit on August 15, played a shaky left field. Young was slow and had some difficulties. At times, communication isn’t there among fielders.
There have been a few magical Twin moments. During the last home stand, Nathan became the all-time Twins save leader recording his 255th save in a Twins uniform. On August 15, Designated Hitter Thome smacked his 600th home run in Detroit to become the eighth Major League player in history to reach that mark.
The Twins are currently 54-70 and 12 games out of first place. Since they don’t seem like they are going anywhere this year, we’re going to turn our attention to food at Target Field! Watch soon for Two Men On’s special interview with Mike Vedder, the Target Field Hot Dog Man. And while we’re on the topic, what are your favorite foods at the two-year-old ballpark? We’d like to know!
Written by: Michael L. Sack