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Article: Big Splash? More Like Big Slash

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JJ Fernandez - 2016

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Offense a Secondary Concern

I wasn't in attendance at Monday's home opener, but by all accounts Target Field was mostly lifeless during a 5-1 snoozer that dropped the home team to 0-4 on the season. Through four games, the Twins have scored six runs and haven't held a lead at any point.

The brutal start is making it tough for fans to generate any kind of enthusiasm following a 99-loss campaign in which this type of dreadful play was all too common. It's easy to overreact in situations such as this – consider that four games is but 1/40th of the total schedule and the Twins could conceivably be back at .500 by the end of the week – but no one should be blamed for feeling a sense of alarm.

After all, the Twins have been soundly defeated four straight times and we haven't even seen any of their true weaknesses tested.

We haven't seen Carl Pavano offer his mid-80s arsenal to a high-powered lineup. We haven't seen this patchwork bullpen try to protect a slim lead. We haven't seen these fielders forced to make tough, heady plays with a game on the line.

The offense, widely considered the club's strongest unit entering the season, has been abysmal through these first four games, preventing the Twins from even having a chance to compete. The good news is that it's not going to last. Eventually the lineup is going to awaken and start producing enough to take some leads.

Will the pitching staff be able to protect those leads on a consistent basis, though? That's where the uncertainty truly lies on this roster. It's easy to lose sight of it with the bats in an ongoing slumber, but run prevention is the greatest long-term challenge for the Twins this year.

Pitching hasn't lost the Twins any games thus far. It hasn't had a chance to. Once the offense picks up (which it surely will, at least to some degree) we'll see whether these hurlers – and the defenders behind them – can answer the call and do what it takes to get on the winning track and make fans forget about this season-opening slump.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little scared to find out.

Attached Image: 1061baseball_bat.jpg

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