Coming off of a wretched weekend that saw the Twins get swept by the Royals, a day off is just what this club needed. Things pretty much hit rock bottom over the weekend. The defense was putrid, the offense was anemic and the pitching was miserable. The Twins were barely watchable this weekend so it is a nice break for fans and the team.
The Twins will head to Chicago to face the struggling White Sox. The Twins have lost six straight and the Sox have lost five straight, leaving the two teams in the cellar of the AL Central. Which is a huge surprise at this juncture of the season as both teams were expected to be in the hunt for the division title. Both teams have seen their offenses fall flat on their faces, while their bullpens have both been terrible as well. Pretty much this series should be a lot more exciting that it looks like it will be.
The Twins will send Francisco Liriano back to the mound in the opener after he was terrible in his last start. I wrote after that game I was shocked he even made it out of the first inning and I have little to no faith in him against this Sox offense, even if they are struggling. He could be pitching for his spot on the roster, or at least his spot in the rotation. Kevin Slowey is apparently close to returning and it looks as though he is being stretched out to make a return to starting. It will be very interesting to see what happens if Liriano can’t be effective Tuesday against the Sox.
It would be fantastic to see this team play at a level that somewhat resembles professional baseball. Which, to me, means no more botched rundowns, no more botched bunts and baserunning errors and no more terrible defense. Those are the things the Twins have hung their hat on for the better part of a decade and I can’t sit here and write that it is ok for that stuff to happen. Offensive slumps will happen and the bullpen will struggle, but playing sound, fundamental baseball is something that this team absolutely must do to make their way back into the AL Central race.
I will be attending both games at “the Cell” this week so I am pretty excited, but I will be even more excited if the Twins can get out of there without giving up double digit runs in a game. Hopefully this battle of the basement will be the start of the Twins’ 2011 comeback.