Once mighty Twins fading fast

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:36 AM ET

MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Twins are a mess.

Not a small, easy to clean up mess.

It’s a major dodo mess.

A storied franchise in the midwest, the Twins, who have won six division titles over the past nine years, are cemented into last pace in the Central Division. At 12-23 they have the worst record in the major leagues, one that is more than well deserved by their pathetic play.

Consider the following: the Twins have the lowest batting average in the American League at .231 and are 14th and dead last as far as hitting home runs with 17. On the pitching front, it is just as dismal as they rank 14th and last with a team ERA of 4.91.

Yes, they have had their share of injuries to key personnel as MVP catcher Joe Mauer remains on the sidelines with a series of mysterious ailments while Jim Thome and Delmon Young have also missed time.

The Twins are hopeful Young, who has been out since April 18 with a strained left oblique, will be able to return to the lineup for their three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

But injuries are a part of the game and the Jays will not be feeling sorry for them when the series opens Friday evening.

On top of it all, the Twins simply are not playing Twins’ style of baseball. They are a franchise that has always played the game the right way — moving runners along, running the bases and catching the ball. It has been a constant source of pride.

They have always been a team that rarely if ever beat itself but that’s not happening to this Twins team this season.

In their just completed series against the Detroit Tigers where they lost both games to stretch their losing skid to five, the Twins issued 17 walks.

It’s enough to make manager Ron Gardenhire pull his hair out by the roots.

Gardenhire has never been shy when it comes to being critical of his players when he’s felt it to be deserving and lately there have been plenty of reasons to do so.

In their most recent loss to the Tigers, Gardenhire was dismayed by the reticence of reliever Jose Mijares to throw strikes.

“You’ve gotta have courage,” Gardenhire said. “Courage is throwing the ball over the plate and making them swing the bat and hopefully we’ll catch it. Sometimes you back away and shy away and that’s not good enough, especially at the end of the ball game.”

In other words, he wants his pitchers to trust their stuff.

The constant lack of offence is driving Gardenhire nuts as well. Mauer is out till who knows when and Justin Morneau has hit all of one home run.

The only Twin pulling his weight offensively is Jason Kubel who is batting .355.

The weekend series calls for rain all three days. It figures.


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