Jason’s Blog: Twins need more
Posted By: Jason Iacovino
This week is supposed to be a big celebration for the Minnesota Twins. They get to show off their beautiful ballpark to the country in the mid-summer classic, including the Homerun Derby on Monday night.
There's just one problem--and it's not Monday's forecast high temperature of 64 degrees. The problem is here we are just 4 1/2 years into the Target Field era and Tuesday's annual clash of Stars will be its only sellout of the season. And trust me, it's not because baseball isn't popular in Minnesota.
The Twins have sank themselves so low with 3 straight horrendous seasons that the only thing beautiful about Target Field lately is the ballpark itself. And that doesn't seem to cut it when the price tag is often $50-100 per ticket. You can no longer sell Target Field as a place for the young and attractive when the best a fan can hope for is a Joe Mauer single to left field--when he's not on the disabled list, that is.
This season the Twins seemed destined to four-peat as 95-plus loss cellar dwellers thanks to a stretch of lifeless games following a 4-game sweep of the White Sox in mid-June. They do head into the All Star break with momentum, however, having won 5 of 7 on their recent road trip to Seattle and Colorado.
I would be inclined to get excited about this recent stretch of good baseball but history has told us that it will very likely be followed by a return to the inept. The Twins caught a break in not having to face King Felix in Seattle (Much like they didn't have to face Chris Sale in that 4-game series against the White Sox last month) and Colorado's pitching is absolutely atrocious and the Twins took advantage.
But again--we've seen too much evidence that any short-term offensive success by this club is much closer to a mirage than a trend. The hot Aprils by Chris Colabello and Jason Kubel are Exhibits A and B. The impressive 6-game stretch following the signing of Kendrys Morales is Exhibit C. The homerun power exhibited in bits and pieces by the likes of Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham are Exhibits D and E.
The only two players who have been consistent in the Twins lineup are the two guys who will represent them this week at Target Field--Kurt Suzuki as a backup catcher for the American League and Brian Dozier as a Homerun Derby contestant.
So let me clear about something--I am not trying to be a Debbie Downer on this All Star stuff. I very much look forward to watch the Derby on Monday night and seeing how well our local park tests big hitters who are facing batting practice fastballs. I also look forward to the game itself on Tuesday night. I think it's a shame that Target Field gets overlooked every Sunday for the ESPN national game of the week.
But I'm being realistic. You could be overly optimistic and say the Twins, at 44-50, are closing in on .500 and they should get two impact players back from the disabled list in Danny Santana and Joe Mauer. But the reality is Minnesota is still 10 1/2 games behind first place Detroit in the American League Central and they are going to have to be a lot more consistent before they can talk about a turnaround.
Scoring 24 runs at Coors Field in Denver won't do it alone.
I am also looking forward to watching them try. I always say my baseball addiction is so strong that I actually don't like All Star week because it's too many days off from games that matter, but being that the festivities are in Minnesota this year, I can handle the break. On Friday the Twins will begin a 10-game homestand against the Rays, Indians, and....another 4-gamer with the White Sox.
The Rays have been disappointing this year. The Indians are certainly nothing special, although they have given the Twins fits, and the White Sox are a bad team. So here's my thing--before we talk about what a nice run the Twins are on heading into the break, let's see if they can win 7 or 8 of these 10 home games coming up and put themselves in an actual position to start thinking playoffs.
If it goes the other way, there won't be any "I told you so's," but it would hardly be a surprise.
Jason Iacovino can be heard Tuesdays and Fridays on KRFO-AM 1390 at 3:50 p.m. Follow him on Twitter @JasonIacovino.