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Week in Review: Scare Factory


In their first full week of the 2022 season, the Twins experienced many ugly and unsettling moments. 

While it looks like they dodged disaster with a few key health scares, the glaring shortcomings of the lineup and bullpen continue to instill fright in fans. A familiar story. And as things stand, the Twins are back where they ended 2021: last place. 

Last Week's Game Results:

Game 4 | MIN 4, SEA 0: Twins Split Series Behind Bundy
Game 5 | LAD 7, MIN 2: Bullpen Collapses in Rainy Affair
Game 6 | LAD 7, MIN 0: Kershaw Perfect as Dodgers Dominate
Game 7 | MIN 8, BOS 4: Ryan Spoils Fenway Home Opener
Game 8 | BOS 4, MIN 0: Bats Go Quiet Again in Boston
Game 9 | BOS 8, MIN 1: Another Bullpen Meltdown Leads to Blowout

Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 4/11 through Sun, 4/17
***
Record Last Week: 2-4 (Overall: 3-6)
Run Differential Last Week: -15 (Overall: -11)
Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (3.0 GB)

NEWS & NOTES

I tried knocking on wood last week when I mentioned that the Twins had entered the season with a relatively clean bill of health. We all knew it wouldn't work. Unsurprisingly, things took a quick turn on the injury front.

On Tuesday, Jorge Alcalá was placed on IL with elbow inflammation – an ominous early sign for the right-hander, whose velocity had been noticeably down all spring from 2021. Griffin Jax joined the bullpen in his place.

One day later, the Twins placed Alex Kirilloff on the shelf while revealing that his right wrist issues from last year are persisting, despite undergoing surgery nine months ago. Trevor Larnach, off to a brutal start in Triple-A following his second-half spiral last season, was the choice to replace Kirilloff on the roster. 

Also on Wednesday, the team designated reliever Jharel Cotton and added Dereck Rodriguez to the 40-man roster. It was a puzzling move to say the least; the Twins claimed Cotton very early in the offseason and essentially had him locked into their bullpen picture all along. He looked pretty good in his first two appearances, although he did struggle with control in the cold on Tuesday night. 

Exposing him to waivers so hastily, in order to add a fungible journeyman? It's weird. We'll see if Cotton makes it through and sticks around.

Friday and Saturday brought the season's biggest scares on the injury front, although thankfully it appears that the Twins avoided seriously bad outcomes on either front. First, Byron Buxton hurt his knee while sliding awkwardly into second in the series opener in Boston. 

Optically it was horrifying. He slammed the ground in frustration and instantly removed himself from the game instantly. But in a rare showing of mercy from the injury gods, scans showed no structural damage and Buxton is only expected to return this week. 

Saturday's game saw Sonny Gray, the front office's biggest offseason addition to the rotation, pull himself in the second inning. It turned out he was bothered by a sore hamstring, and although Gray – unlike Buxton – didn't avoid the injured list (Cody Stashak was activated in his stead), there's optimism his stay there will be short.

In the meantime, adapting the rotation to his absence will be easy, since the Twins can simply go back to a standard five-man setup.

HIGHLIGHTS

Early returns on Minnesota's buy-low free agency gambles in the rotation are quite good. As far as first impressions go, you can't do much better than Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer in their Twins debuts. 

Bundy shut down the Mariners on Monday night with five innings of one-hit ball, allowing just one hit and one walk. Although he could hardly be described as "dominant," generating six whiffs and two strikeouts against 18 hitters, the righty was efficient and effective. He threw 47 of 67 pitches for strikes, and easily could've given the Twins another inning or two with a full spring build-up.

The next night, Archer delivered four shutout innings against an imposing Dodgers lineup – a performance made to look even more impressive by the way said lineup decimated the rest of the Twins pitching staff. 

Like Bundy, Archer's performance was more workmanlike than overpowering, as he registered five swinging strikes on 63 pitches. But his two biggest downfalls from the last two seasons – walks and home runs – were nowhere to be seen. Archer kept the ball in the yard and issued no free passes while flashing impressive velocity.

If even one of these first glimpses is indicative of what's to come, that's a HUGE development for this year's rotation.

Speaking of big developments for the rotation, Joe Ryan was absolutely dazzling in his second start of the season, silencing Boston's imposing lineup over six innings of one-run ball. Leaning heavily on his underrated slider, Ryan piled up seven strikeouts on 16 swings and misses. He walked no one and threw an exceptional 73% of his 82 pitches for strikes. A tremendously encouraging performance.

Rounding out a strong week for the starting corps was Bailey Ober, who tossed six innings on Sunday with just two unearned runs allowed. Altogether, Twins starters have posted a 3.12 ERA with just 29 hits and 11 walks allowed in 40 ⅓ innings – and this while facing some pretty dang good opponents.

LOWLIGHTS

The bullpen has been a mixed bag so far, but the low points have been costly and alarming. The last thing you want is a relief unit that allows things to spiral out of control suddenly, and we saw it happen twice for this group in the last week alone.

Both of these incidents involved Caleb Thielbar. On Tuesday, he and Jhon Romero combined for an eighth-inning meltdown that saw the Dodgers push across six runs on five hits and two walks. On Sunday, Thielbar was charged with four earned runs on four hits while recording just one out, ballooning his ERA to 23.63. That's a smidge lower than the 27.00 ERA that Stashak finds himself with, after coughing up two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning after replacing Thielbar. Stashak posted a 6.89 ERA in 15 ⅔ innings last year and after this disastrous 2022 debut, it's worth wondering if Cotton was the right guy to jettison.

Wednesday was another tough day for the pen, with Rodriguez and Jax giving up a combined four runs in five innings following an inauspicious debut from Chris Paddack (4 IP, 3 ER). Meanwhile the bats flailed away against Clayton Kershaw, who was perfect through seven innings before departing.

In general, this was an egregiously rough week for the offense, which got shut out twice in six games and has blown away the franchise record for fewest hits ever through nine games. Basically everyone is taking part in the struggles:

  • Miguel Sanó went 2-for-20 last week. He did coax five walks while hitting his first home run, but Sanó's season is off to an abjectly awful start, especially when you account for the blatant sloppiness on defense at first base.
  • Max Kepler went 4-for-24 and is batting .167 through nine games. He looks the same as always – extremely pull-heavy and easily subdued by defensive shifts. The lack of evolution is frustrating. Nonetheless, he batted cleanup on Sunday. 
  • Carlos Correa, the shining prize of Minnesota's offseason, has yet to find any rhythm at the plate. After going 2-for-20 last week, he's now batting .133 with a .512 OPS and 39% K-rate on the season. Too early to cast any judgment but he's off to a dreadful start for the new club.
  • Gio Urshela went 3-for-16 with no extra-base hits and no walks. He's now got more GIDP (2) than XBH (1) this year.
  • Ryan Jeffers and Gary Sanchez were a combined 5-for-31 (.161) with two walks and 16 strikeouts.  By the way, Mitch Garver has a .382 OBP with the Rangers and is regularly batting third or fourth for them.

Realistically, this team's success was always going to depend on a strong offense supporting a solid yet unspectacular pitching staff. The latter has mostly been doing its part, despite some hiccups from the bullpen, but the bats are not holding up their end. In five of Minnesota's six losses, they have essentially give the team no chance to win by scoring two runs or fewer.

If this continues ... well, it's scary to think about. 

TRENDING STORYLINE

Is the Justin Upton dream dead? It sure feels that way, now that the Twins have made a roster move to bring in Kyle Garlick while making no reported inroads with the free agent, who is available to sign anywhere. It's odd how few rumblings there have been since Upton cleared waivers last week. Is he just going to retire (or at least take the year off) and count the millions he'll make anyway? I could hardly blame him.

One thing is for sure: with Kirilloff's status in limbo and the Minnesota offense falling on its face out of the gate, any kind of legitimate external boost would be welcome.

LOOKING AHEAD

After closing out another wraparound weekend series in Boston on Monday morning (ALERT: 10:10 AM CT start time), Minnesota will get a welcome respite from the challenging early slate with three games in Kansas City against the 3-5 Royals. Then the Twins return home for a crucial early-season series against the division-favorite White Sox.

If the coming week goes well, it'll do a ton to alleviate the valid early concerns from fans who still feel sour after the disappointment of 2021. If it goes poorly? Hoo boy.

MONDAY, 4/18: TWINS @ RED SOX – RHP Dylan Bundy v. LHP Rich Hill
TUESDAY, 4/19: TWINS @ ROYALS – RHP Chris Archer v. LHP Daniel Lynch
WEDNESDAY, 4/20: TWINS @ ROYALS – RHP Chris Paddack v. RHP Zack Greinke
THURSDAY, 4/21: TWINS @ ROYALS – RHP Joe Ryan v. RHP Brad Keller
FRIDAY, 4/22: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Vince Velasquez v. RHP Bailey Ober
SATURDAY, 4/23: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – LHP Dallas Keuchel v. RHP Dylan Bundy
SUNDAY, 4/24: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Jimmy Lambert v. RHP Chris Archer


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I think the most hopeful thing I see is that this offense can’t continue to be this comically ineffective. The bats have to break out substantially. No team ever hits .182/.274/.329

The rotation has been almost equally surprising but for the opposite reason. 
Here’s to some better weeks. I want this baseball season to still mean something by the time Minnesota finally exits sweater weather.

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The culture of this team is starting to really concern me. As a huge Twins fan I find myself expecting them to lose most close or important games. The Record Playoff Losing Streak is almost like a disgusting centerpiece of this Culture of Fear of Winning/Poorly Built Team.

I sure hope I'm wrong but the lack of much high end pitching and the homer or nothing offensive approach looks more and more like a recipe for frustration. So bummed about how this team makes me feel like it picked up right were it left off in 2021. I'm afraid this team has the wrong leadership in place and is doomed to fail until we fix it.

Last year I thought it was just Baldelli who was inferior but the more I see how deep these teams failures run, I'm realizing Falvey has no solid long term plan to getting this team back to consistent winning. 

This wasnt fun to write but 20 years without so much as an ALCS appearance and dozens of straight playoff losses havent been fun either.

I want to have fun watching the Twins again. And feel like our goals are to win more than the AL Central again one day.

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"Any kind of legitimate external boost would be welcome." 

This. It's by no means just the Twins, but I will never understand why teams aren't more aggressive with roster moves early in the season before it's too late. It's clear what this team's weaknesses are, why not try to address them before just punting in July. 

Upton is one name being mentioned, Conforto is still out there... plus the Twins have a strong farm system they could use to bolster the bullpen via trades.

Instead, most teams just let it all play out until their July fire sale. 

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Nick it was a wonderful horror story.  Once again you nailed it and I am sorry you are right on so many points.  As I sit here with snow falling and two fresh inches on the ground I keep thinking this must still be spring training.  These games don't count, but then I remember last spring and they do!   Keep telling us the truth.  

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I wasn't really counting on Stashak but I really don't understand how bad Thielbar has been. I wouldn't doubt that trading Rogers made an impact on distrubting the BP. Rogers has been a stablizing effect on the BP, letting him go throws everything in the air, which we didn't need.

I've been pleasingly surprised by this rotation, the only doubt is Gray's physical condition and fixing Pallack. As Archer has more time to get stretched out, his off pitches will get sharper which will produce more SOs not only poor contact. The rotation's success is dependent on the BP.

We are relying too much on short relief and they are struggling. The usual outcome is we over extend the rotation and they get burned out. We are using 4 short RPs / game, we need to get out of this routine. We need to send down some short relievers to get their heads straight and bring up at least Smeltzer. Smeltzer has produced in ST and AAA, he deserves to be called up. I'd like to see Winder, Smeltzer & Co. to pitch around 3 innings every game and not be so reliant on short relief.

I've stated all year we have a very weak OF besides Buxton and Kepler.Upton isn't the answer, I'm surprized that he was even considered. Garlick is definitely not the answer. I like Gordon but he's still learning to be an OFer. Larnach & Celestino need more time in AAA, although they're very promising, it'd be unprudent to depend on them. Any injury but especially to Buxton our team takes a heavy hit. What we need is a MLB ready, RH hitting CF that can viably sub Buxton and play all OF positions. We should've addressed this problem before the market had been picked clean but the need is still there.

 

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Good summary of where things sit.  Great job, Nick.  I have four reactions.  First, on the positive side, Ober and Ryan are looking like the real thing.  I think both of them are confident and composed while looking like they have the stuff to be rotation anchors for a long time.  Second, on the negative side, Kepler looks like a player that simply cannot learn--the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results--and is a consistent weak link in this lineup.  Why Rocco would bat him cleanup is beyond me.  Why not see what Contreras could do?  He is as good or better than Kepler in the field, and with time would bring more to the plate than Kepler will.  Third, Correa will be fine.  He missed so much time that it is going to take a few weeks for him to hit his stride, but he will hit without a doubt.  Finally, I wonder sometimes what in the world the FO is thinking.  They sign Cotton and give him a direct path to the bullpen and then cut him.  It is like they make frantic short term decisions on players trying to correct things, but never seem to make the necessary long term decisions to really correct weaknesses--for example, adding a legitimate bullpen arm or two, or signing one quality starter in free agency.  Their logic escapes me sometimes.

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7 hours ago, Lasorda_This_Out said:

Not that Gardy can pull the Twins out of the garbage can in 2022 but he can make it fun again?

Even if the 2022 Twins lose 100 games but Gardy gets ejected 50 times...awesome season!

Winning isn't everything in Life? It's the FunFactor(tm).....?

Have at it....

As long as we're contemplating resurrection I'd go with Billy Martin.

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To me, FO does not value relief pitching enough. Sure you can pick up some cast offs and piece together some of the bullpen but in today's game need 3-4 solid setup/closer types. Twins have Pagan-who has looked good, Duran-very inexperienced, Duffy- may never get back to 2020 form, Theilbar- a good story, but hasn't looked good this year. 

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Nine games is a small sample size, but these trends can't continue.  Why a $100mm ballplayer hasn't learned to slide properly, why a seasoned SP can't get stretched out properly, why a prized, undeniably talented prospect has lingering wrist issues, it just goes on and on.  The Twins could go on a hot ten game stretch and all these comments would flip to positive, but starting another season abysmally again has me searching for my paper bag headpiece.  These guys look ill-prepared and unmotivated, and hardly worth planning another trip to the Twin Cities to witness another debacle.

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1 hour ago, Doctor Gast said:

I wasn't really counting on Stashak but I really don't understand how bad Thielbar has been. I wouldn't doubt that trading Rogers made an impact on distrubting the BP. Rogers has been a stablizing effect on the BP, letting him go throws everything in the air, which we didn't need.

I've been pleasingly surprised by this rotation, the only doubt is Gray's physical condition and fixing Pallack. As Archer has more time to get stretched out, his off pitches will get sharper which will produce more SOs not only poor contact. The rotation's success is dependent on the BP.

We are relying too much on short relief and they are struggling. The usual outcome is we over extend the rotation and they get burned out. We are using 4 short RPs / game, we need to get out of this routine. We need to send down some short relievers to get their heads straight and bring up at least Smeltzer. Smeltzer has produced in ST and AAA, he deserves to be called up. I'd like to see Winder, Smeltzer & Co. to pitch around 3 innings every game and not be so reliant on short relief.

I've stated all year we have a very weak OF besides Buxton and Kepler.Upton isn't the answer, I'm surprized that he was even considered. Garlick is definitely not the answer. I like Gordon but he's still learning to be an OFer. Larnach & Celestino need more time in AAA, although they're very promising, it'd be unprudent to depend on them. Any injury but especially to Buxton our team takes a heavy hit. What we need is a MLB ready, RH hitting CF that can viably sub Buxton and play all OF positions. We should've addressed this problem before the market had been picked clean but the need is still there.

 

I agree with a lot of your thoughts here. First and foremost, we did need Rogers. He was the most stable, centerpiece of this bullpen. Without him, there are a lot of unknowns to sort through. 

I think the offense on paper took a step backward, but it is nowhere near as bad as what we're seeing.

I still expect them to be a decent run-producing group. but I don't necessarily have confidence in all the same names as you.

I fully trust Buxton, Correa, Arraez and Polanco.

I feel we can count on Sano and Sanchez to hit for power and a very low batting averages. Kepler will hit for a similarly low batting average with fewer strikeouts and fewer home runs. He'll surely pull a lot of double play balls into the shift. I won't lose any sleep if they move on from him. His greatest asset is his ability to fill in as an average fielding CF. 

To my eye, Kiriloff and Larnach are 2 flips of the same coin. One or both will likely turn out to be productive this season. Jeffers isn't an offensive asset. Urshela? meh. I like the glove. Gordon? no thanks. I think Astudillo would've been a much better fit as bench depth now that we have one poor hitting cather and a second poor fielding catcher at DH, and he's much more reliable for a tough at-bat as a pinch hitter.  

 

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What do the stat-heads think would be the record of a team of replacement players? Because that's what this lineup looks like right now. Correia and Polanco are playing at that level and the rest of the lineup (I'm looking at Monday's lineup against the No-Longer-Yellow-Sox with Garlick at cleanup) ARE replacement-level players.

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"I think Astudillo would've been a much better fit as bench depth now that we have one poor hitting cather and a second poor fielding catcher at DH, and he's much more reliable for a tough at-bat as a pinch hitter.   "

 

yes. this.

 

sano hitting .077 and correa at .177 come on. and sano's defense is awful. kepler should not be hitting clean-up on a men's league softball team at this point. the bargain basement trades have yielded the results most thought they would. if htye lose and it's a fun game i'm all for that - this is not that.

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I think it is entirely possible that the FO had no intention of contending in 2022 (they didn't sign a legitimate free agent pitcher, they didn't fix the bullpen, traded Donaldson in a salary dump and got weaker at third and catcher in the process) but then Correa literally fell into their lap. They got back on the "next year" track by trading Rogers to get younger and cheaper. 

The Correa signing confused fans and maybe confused the FO a little too. Inking him is hard to criticize though because, in the worst case, they may feel he represents value for $17.5 million (his salary for half a year) in the form of trade value and optionality if lightning somehow struck 

Of course, they could never cop to not contending as their tickets sales have been shakier than the lead singer in a rhumba band. Four dollar gas and chicken for millionaires only isn't going to shore that up either. 

 

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Kirilloff, Buxton, and Gray are tough loses, but all look to be back within a month. Surprisingly, the pitching staff is rolling strong, with Ober’s first start (4 runs against the Mariners) being the highest run total by any starter yet. Most of the bullpen problems have been from Duffey, Thielbar or unproven arms, so them balancing back to consistent form will be crucial, especially considering their veteran presence. Hopefully Larnach can perform well at the majors, and Duran looks filthy

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4 hours ago, PDX Twin said:

What do the stat-heads think would be the record of a team of replacement players?

It's a somewhat fuzzy concept of what a full team of replacement players would do, and I've got the number "50" for wins stuck in my head somewhere, but I've always been skeptical of that.  The 2019 Tigers went 47-114, serving as some sort of benchmark in the current era, but they were trying and had a handful of players with positive WAR, starters Matthew Boyd and Spencer Turnbull and Daniel Norris prominently.  The expansion 1962 Mets went 40-120 but that's too long ago to be useful for gauging today and the expansion draft let them pick a few guys.  If you really cut all your major leaguers and tried to assemble a team from waiver pickups and minor-league signings, I think you'd struggle to break 30 wins.

I know you were just asking rhetorically, though. :)

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48 minutes ago, ashbury said:

It's a somewhat fuzzy concept of what a full team of replacement players would do, and I've got the number "50" for wins stuck in my head somewhere, but I've always been skeptical of that.  The 2019 Tigers went 47-114, serving as some sort of benchmark in the current era, but they were trying and had a handful of players with positive WAR, starters Matthew Boyd and Spencer Turnbull and Daniel Norris prominently.  The expansion 1962 Mets went 40-120 but that's too long ago to be useful for gauging today and the expansion draft let them pick a few guys.  If you really cut all your major leaguers and tried to assemble a team from waiver pickups and minor-league signings, I think you'd struggle to break 30 wins.

I know you were just asking rhetorically, though. :)

According to Bonnes' boss Gleeman :) ; all replacement players would yield low 50s wins in a season per the sims.  

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Nick, nothing you said here is inaccurate in any way. And I could extoll my opinion for the 4th time how the FO was short-sighted before the lockout...seemingly too fixated on the Buxton extension while already KNOWING needs for 2022, and at least some semblance of projected payroll even with a Buxton extension in the works...and missing out on opportunities presented to them. Post lockout, there were still some interesting BP arms out there that they seemed to ignore, despite available payroll and need. But I will or will not choose to address that at a later date somewhere.

For right here and now, I'm just concentrating on what I've seen in 10 games and a 4-6 record against 3 good teams, amidst some really bad weather conditions. Granted, everyone plays in the same conditions. But some players just respond to poor weather better than others. Unfortunately, one bad grip, one bad slip in the field, can make a difference here and there. 

THE GOOD:

1] I have a lot of belief in Gray, Ryan and Ober. I don't expect miracles. But Gray is very good. Ryan and Ober seem to have the stuff, presence, and confidence to be very solid to very good SP. We're seeing that. Like EVERYTHING, good and bad, we are talking SSS. I fully expected Bundy to do a reverse Happ. I expected him to move to a new team, have a short ST while Johnson and the staff work with him, and look pretty bad while making adjustments. He would then be at least "solid" if not better. Instead he's come out of the gate already solid. Experience and a short tease? Or does a solid end to 2021 and veteran experience while still ramping up and working with Johnson at least keep him solid, if not better, as time goes on? I've been pleasantly surprised through 2 games. Archer was a bigger flier to me, though with higher upside, if he could be healthy for the first time in 3yrs. His personal testimony and try-out results/numbers gave me at least some encouragement. And he was quality his first time out. A chance more is yet to come? I just didn't expect much from Paddack his first turn. And I've seen worse to be sure. Despite fantasy lovers looking at "value" in the trade, I wouldn't have made the move for him. But I can't deny his stuff, his prospect status, his rookie season, only 26yo with 3yrs of ML experience and 3yrs of team control, and the chance to work with Johnson and others to take a step forward. Also encouraged by Winder, but that's part of point #2.

2] Relief pitchers are the most volatile of all players, except for the elite. Though even those have bad days. But except for a couple of bad performances, we saw some flashes and very good IP. Duran, despite his early season 6.00 ERA, has EMBARRASSED ML hitters and been dominant except for a couple hard hit balls. Repeat what I said in the Monday game thread that I hope he can still learn some kind of change, splitter, or cutter to add to his splinker, and what appears to be a mid 80's power curve, to maybe move to the rotation again. But he's looked potentially DOMINATE at this point, without being nervous. And remember, he missed 2020 and only pitched 16 innings in 2021. Kudos to Rocco and stuff to trust him. I would have thrown Winder in earlier, but he's looked solid, and looks like he belongs. If his long relief appearance the other day had been a GS,  we'd be raving with optimism. Coulombe has looked solid. Should we be surprised? Jax looked today, Monday, like many of us thought: intelligence, confidence, stuff for a couple of IP. Optimism for depth, options, and veterans rounding in to form.

3] The lineup has flat out not produced as expected. They have flailed and failed too much at this point. So why is this "GOOD"? Because this is NOT going to persist! Correa and Polanco are both outstanding hitters. Sano ALWAYS comes awake after time to be a .800÷ OPS hitter with dangerous power and puts up solid numbers by season's end. Because Kepler is just NOT as bad as 2021 and his early start this year. His production has almost always been at least league average. Because Jeffers has so much potential, has power, and his career from college to milb to the ML says he will hit. Because Sanchez...who I wasn't crazy about...is already hitting better than he has the past couple of seasons, while improving his defense, and still showing glimpses of his power. Urshela has played great defense thus far. And his 2021 was solid. We're OK if he repeats 2021, and better, much better, if he can ramp up to is 2019-2020 self. 

THE BAD: (REVERSE ORDER)

1] No matter Gray, Ryan, and Ober, Bundy and Archer are still wild cards in the rotation. CAN Bundy actually be the amalgam of Baltimore and 2020 Angels SP where he got some Cy Young votes? Or is he a placeholder for Winder or someone else? Is Archer 100% healthy and ready to rock and roll and take his health and experience and surprise everyone by being a quality #2, or at least a quality #3 SP for a potential playoff team? It's happened before. Or is he also just a hopeful placeholder? 

2] The lineup just shouldn't be this bad. Buxton is a stud, so is Polanco, and so is Correa. By pure hitting standards and OB, so is Arraez. And while he should never be counted on the first few weeks of a season, and while he will always be "streaky" in his production, Sano will always, eventually, be a big power number producer with a .800+ OPS who should never hit above the 6 spot until about June. Kepler should always be in the bottom third of the lineup where he can be dangerous, slide up against a RHSP, and just be what he is unless he suddenly adapts as a hitter, a quality RF and average hitter. Jeffers has REAL potential as a hitter with power and good defense. I ABSOLUTELY  believe there is potential there as a hitter with power, but we just haven't seen it yet. Sanchez has power and a .300+ OB despite his offensive struggles in recent years. And he's been been better than I thought he might be. There is hope. But LF was SUPPOSED to be held down by AK. He should now be ready, talent, limited experience, and opportunity, to be the LF for now and future permanent 1B. And his entire career may hang in the balance over the next few weeks. So it's opportunity time for Larnach to step forward and SEIZE the opportunity. Can he do it? And despite his supposed ability to to hit LH pitching, is Garlick the RH hitting option we need in the OF? And despite his talent and potential in the OF, and despite his impressive 11 pitch AB today against Boston, shouldn't Celestino be in AAA to develop?

Despite early struggles, this lineup shouldn't be this bad. And it won't be I'm sure. But this team is clearly needing an OF who hits RH. And that's been true since last season ended. And right now, we have Garlick.

3] I believe you can build a bullpen. I've believed that since the Tom Kelly days. And it doesn't matter if you don't have a "traditional" closer because over  the past 10yrs we've seen that you need "fireman" for lack of a better term. Now it's "high leverage " pitchers. But the Twins needed another RH leverage pitcher for 2022 to join Rogers to be "competitive" in 2022. And instead of signing one, we traded our best one. I still don't get it. Paddack may prove me/us wrong. Pagan and the development of Duran may prove us wrong. Alcala was being counted on I'm sure. And now his future is in doubt. I just don't understand the Cotton move other than  they felt nobody else might pass through waivers and they liked Romero better?

I do believe the offense will come around. I don't know if Larnach is ready or not, but I sure hope so with AK out. And unless Urshela gets his offensive game together soon, Miranda better crank it up.

While I think the Cotton move was a sily desperation move to play the roster, the Twins are going to have to make some hard  moves soon, or be left in the dust. At some point, Minaya and possibly Smeltzer are going to have to be brought up. We'll see. The pen seems to be the biggest weakness right now, allowing the lineup to figure it out.

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It's now Tuesday, but going 4-4, against what I would consider wild card contending teams in BoSox and Mariners, is a great sign.

They have pretty much looked like an 82ish win team thru 10. I'm digging it.

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The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premiere Twins community on the internet.

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