At some point it’s no longer a tough start. It’s no longer something that’s bound to turn around. This is a bad baseball team; one that entered the season with the expectation of a third straight division crown and (finally) postseason success.
Much like Cleveland in 2019, these Twins have seemingly taken their competitors for granted. They look the part of a team that expected to sleepwalk through the regular season en route to their fourth playoff berth in five years.
Instead, the White Sox, a club that is without two of its best players, just exposed and embarrassed the Twins on the South Side.
What you saw in what was a massive series and opportunity for the Twins was the same story: losing baseball. The Twins have forgotten how to win on this treacherous 7-21 stretch. They are performing like it’s the playoffs, although in that case they’d be 0-28.
The Twins’ front office opted to sign Andrelton Simmons ($10.5 million), Alexander Colomé ($6.25 million), and Matt Shoemaker ($2 million) for a combined $18.75 million. Those three have combined for exactly 0.0 Wins Above Replacement through 35 games.
Shortstop Marcus Semien, whom the Twins were interested in all offseason but elected not to pay up for, is hitting .271/.333/.472 (125 wRC+) and has produced 1.3 fWAR.
OK … I admit that’s a petty gripe and a premature one at best. Andrelton Simmons has been more league average than bad at the plate and leads American League shortstops with five Outs Above Average.
Plus, the Twins’ offense finished off their series in Chicago with the sixth highest wRC+ in all of baseball (107). Only three offenses (White Sox, Astros, Dodgers) had produced more fWAR than the Twins after Thursday’s brutal loss.
That doesn’t tell the whole story though.
In situations that FanGraphs deems as “high leverage,” the Twins entered Thursday hitting a remarkably awful .140/.200/.243 (28 wRC+). In terms of OPS, the next worst team in high leverage spots is the Cubs, 128 points away. The difference between the Cubs and Twins is more than the difference between the Cubs and the 18th-ranked Mets (.683).
The Twins’ bullpen has been a bottom five unit by almost every metric, ranking 26th in ERA (5.09), 27th in FIP (4.75) and T-27th in fWAR (-0.6).
The rotation ranks 19th in ERA (4.31), 25th in FIP (4.50), and T-24th in fWAR (1.3).
So what happened to the Twins? Well, they’re not hitting in the clutch (at all), the bullpen stinks and the rotation ranks near the bottom of the league in most categories. Add in the horrific 0-11 record in extra-innings games and doubleheaders and It’s not hard to see why we’ve been so awful.
Now there’s the 10 game deficit and a tough 11 game stretch: vs. Oakland (3), vs. White Sox (3), @ Angels (DH), @ Cleveland (3).
It’s been all bad. Can they just change that to “all mediocre” for a while?