It has been a week since the Minnesota Twins' last off day, and in that time they've played six games, all on the road and all against divisional opponents.
The good news is that the Twins still don't have a losing segment on their schedule. This means that they have yet to have a losing road trip or home stand. The team ended the week with a slug fest against the Detroit Tigers, but early in the week it was Jose Berrios' start that snapped a 2-game losing "streak." Berrios looked like everything an ace should be, righting the team's ship following two poor performances, the first game being Devin Smeltzer looking good except for four mistake pitches that were belted for home runs and the second a game where the Twins pitching and defense squandered an offense that put up 7 runs. Of course Berrios wouldn't have been able to win the game if it wasn't for Max "Power" Kepler breaking his 0-21 at-bat streak with 3 home runs. The Twins bats are still another good, with the team hitting 16 more home runs to bring their season total to 125.
I'm going to have to say that the bad of this week was probably a few pitchers just losing it when they needed it. The week started with Smeltzer's mistakes leading to 5 runs, which was the first loss. Game two featured 7 Twins' runs, but also featured Blake Parker giving up 3 runs in one inning and the team losing by 2. Skipping to the Twins 9-3 loss on Saturday in Detroit, starter Kyle Gibson gave up 5 runs while reliever Matt Magill gave up 4 in one inning. So, the Twins definitely need to find some more consistency especially out of the bullpen. It is worth noting that Smeltzer has been sent back down to triple-A with the return of Michael Pineda.
The Twins not landing Craig Kimbrel. This is less about the team and more about the fans around the team. Reports are that the Twins made a very competitive offer, but Kimbrel decided to sign with the Chicago Cubs, reportedly because he wanted at least a three year deal. The reception by fans has not been happy. Kimbrel undoubtedly has elite stuff, and could be key to a Cubs playoff run, which would only make Twins fans more angry. Of course I alluded to it before, but the casual fan saw Kimbrel as the move to solidify the bullpen and give consistency to a group that can really rely on one maybe two pitchers in high leverage situations. However, I don't know that the Kimbrel move would have done that. Kimbrel has yet to face any big league hitters this year, and likely won't see the field for another few weeks. Nobody knows where his stuff will be after not having pitched since last October, it might take a month to figure out, or he might not be very good for the whole rest of this year. The final gripe that I've seen with this deal, or lack thereof, is that this is "typical Pohlad penny-pinching." However, Kimbrel's issue wasn't with money but with years, so the Twins may have been ready to put up the money, but didn't want to lock themselves in and be prevented from making moves in the future. In any case, this was a miss on a free agent that is sure to cause a rift between a lot of fans and the team, especially if the bullpen does not perform up to snuff for what should be a good playoff team.