Monday, July 10, 2006

Limping Into the Break

Just after piecing together one of the most amazing stretches of winning in team history, the Twins enter the All-Star break having lost four of their last five, playing the type of uninspired baseball that aggravated fans early in the season. After a three-week stretch in which it seemed nothing could go wrong, pretty much everything has gone wrong in the past five games, with the exception of the continued brilliance of No. 47.

Yesterday the Twins looked to Johan Santana to carry them into the break with a victory. For the early part of the game, it looked like Santana would deliver, as he struck out five of the first six batters he faced. However, as has frequently been the case this year, Santana ran into trouble after he got past the fifth inning, giving up two-run homers in the sixth and seventh to put the Rangers ahead for good.

Meanwhile, the Twins' offense put on another pathetic display. Twins' hitters went 1-for-9 in scoring opportunities. Nick Punto, Justin Morneau, Mike Redmond and Jason Bartlett each struck out twice. Joe Mauer went 0-for-4 for the second day in a row, which is something you will probably not say very often in his career.

To put it simply, this team is in need of a break, so the three-day All-Star hiatus really could not have come at a better time. From here on out, the Twins are going to need to play better baseball on the road or they will struggle to win 85 games.