OK, time is up; no more Mr. Nice Guy! After the Twins started this season hovering near the .500 mark, they have slipped into a hole that is so deep that they might as well start making major changes now. The Twins last win came on May 13, where their record was 18-17! But the bright light ended like somebody had flipped an ominous switch. The starting pitching went dismal, the line-up isn’t hitting enough for the bullpen to hold on to infrequent leads, and Manager Ron Gardenhire is making crucial mistakes. Basically, the Twins are putting Twins Territory into shambles.
Since that win last Monday, the Twins have lost nine straight. The Twins are falling behind early in games frequently thanks to pitchers who leave cookies over the plate. The starting pitching is giving up way to many runs. So far this season, the Twins are 28th in pitching with an 4.66 ERA that has giving up 216 runs, 119 walks, and 47 dingers. On May 22, newcomer Vance Worley had what you can call an awful game that ended his short stint with the Twins. Worley gave up eight runs on three home runs in two innings. Immediately after the game, the Twins sent him to Triple-A. The starting pitchers have surrendered a whopping 31 home runs in less than two months. Part of this problem is Gardenhire who leaves his pitchers in way to long. Even when a pitcher is struggling, Gardenhire leaves him to watch the other team score again.
In the past 30 games, the only three batters that are hitting above .300 are Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Jamey Carroll. This year, the Twins have a batting average of .248 with 35 home runs and a whopping 359 strikeouts. Before the game Monday, Twins slugger Josh Willingham has been ice cold, batting under .200 with his last home run coming April 29. Since Monday, Willingham has smacked three homers. The Twins’ top prospect rookie Aaron Hicks, who the Twins hoped would replace Torii Hunter, has been really struggling at the plate. Hicks has an average of .159 with 16 RBIs and four home runs. But, I believe Hicks will improve and be just fine. In order for the Twins to start improving this season, Willingham and Hicks must start hitting better.
The question most fans should have is what will happen to Gardenhire if the Twins continue to falter. Since he took over the reigns in 2002, Gardenhire has a .520 Managerial record and he has led the Twins to six division titles. He was American League Manager of the Year in 2010, which was the first year of Target Field. Gardenhire’s team is 147-221 and has been in last place since the end of 2010. Gardenhire has not improved the team in three years and he sometimes makes questionable decisions. For example, he has mysteriously benched players due to “injuries”. To me, Gardenhire has been sub-par and I wondered why Gardenhire did not get fired a long with the other four coaches at the conclusion of last season. I truly think that the Twins should release the beloved manager and hire one that will go in a new direction and, just maybe, take this team back to the promise land. What is your opinion of Gardy?
Written By: Michael L. Sack