I just fed my obsession by playing golf for about the fifteenth day out of sixteen. Well, it wasn't pretty and I left the course pretty frustrated. Before I got home, I had a chance to read the latest on Twins Daily and Major League Trade Rumors. The Twins will face the high-flying Yankees with three red-hot pitchers going for the Evil Empire. The Twins will counter with Cole Sands, Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy. I don't think I've ever seen such a lopsided matchup in favor of the visiting team when both teams are leading their divisions. Ever.
As frustrated as I am with my golf game, the Twins continuing use of the Injured List and granting days off for their most dynamic talent provides me and plenty of other Twins fans with continual angst. It is like they are trying to win with one arm behind their back.
Let's examine the components of my frustration; Injured List (pitchers)--A key bullpen arm (Alcala) has missed two months with an arm issue. That happens and all teams run into that on occasion. A marginal projected contributor (Dobnak) has missed the entire season so far and isn't close to coming back. Again not unexpected and all teams run into this. Currently, Gray (pectoral), Ryan (COVID) and Ober (groin) are all out. This is where the frustration builds for me. These aren't arm injuries and both of the injuries were borderline enough that the player wasn't disabled immediately. It seems that maximum caution has been used in all three cases. But these three are the top three starters on the team and none of them will face the Yankees this week. Beyond the immediate frustration is the fact that the team has been very conservative in extending the starts of all of their starters, yet here come the injuries. Add the cherry on top of a COVID case for their top young starter that has caused him to miss about three weeks and you start to wonder, what will happen next. One (frustrating) thing we can count on--there will be more short starts when the Injured List guys return to the rotation. Again, it seems that it is a constant, not the exception.
Part two--position players. Having players who are breaking out miss time to injury and illness happens, but the Twins seem to have that as a rule. Gilberto Celestino, Kyle Garlick, Trevor Larnach and Royce Lewis all seemed on the way to proving they were valuable major league players and all were detoured to the injured list for a period of time. The Buxton management scheme seems to have accomplished one thing--make Byron Buxton an ordinary ballplayer. We've seen little of the blazing speed (don't "open it up" unless you absolutely have to) and he's no longer even causes anxiety for teams when he's on base. Buxton has only played about half the time in center field and when I last looked, he wasn't even a plus defender this year (that is a big portion of his value). Buck has hit homers at a prolific rate, but he's not getting on base enough and, as mentioned, he is not displaying many of his off the charts tools. Next Carlos Correa. After a slow start, Correa has shown himself to be a premium player, but because of a bad bruise when he was hit by a pitch and a case of COVID, he will have missed over a third of the Twins games to date when he returns. The COVID absence wouldn't have been so bad, but his heir apparent was hurt the day before he was diagnosed, so the Twins have used a career minor leaguer as their shortstop (Palacios has looked like a big leaguer. Good for him!).
From what I can tell the Blue Jays have all of their top position players and top starters healthy and playing every day. Same for the Yankees. Since the middle of April, that hasn't been the case with the Twins. Why can't we have nice things? Agree? Give some feedback if you'd like. Go Twins!