It's getting to one of those points with the Twins again where it's hard to write anything new about their spiraling disaster of a situation. The Twins have no offense to speak of and a rotation made up of a Cy Young winner, an explosive disaster, and three rookies. I hate to say it, but with every game like last night's, it gets less and less likely that the Twins will have a post-season birth.
After being impotent as an offense for two out of three games against the unintimidating staff of the Devil Rays, they now have to face Detroit's great pitching staff. Last night was no off-night, as they had Justin Verlander on their hands. With Francisco Liriano and Jonathon Palpelbon hurt, it looks likely that Verlander will win the AL Rookie of the Year award. He's now 16-7 with a 3.19 ERA, which throws him in the Cy Young mix as well.
Verlander looked hittable for periods of the night, but the Twins did their best to resist. Despite eight hits off Verlander in seven innings, with two walks by Justin Morneau, they scored just one run on a Michael Cuddyer home run. Otherwise, every time a runner was on, it seemed like the same result: double-play. The guilty? Torii Hunter, the usual suspect, Jason Tyner and Jason Bartlett.
You can't fault Bartlett too much, since he is hitting .336, but why was Tyner in the lineup as a DH? Is Ron Gardenhire losing his mind? Okay, so he was 2-for-4 last night and carries a .310 average, but it's the emptiest .310 average around, with a .337 OBP and .345 slugging to go along with it. A guy with five total extra-base hits on the year in 174 at-bats and 12 RBI was DHing. Once again, why did we even trade for Phil Nevin?
Personally, and I think a lot of fans would agree, I'd rather see Nevin at DH. Sure, he strikes out plenty, but he also walks and at least he's a threat with a bat. You can't put someone in the DH spot that can't even hit a home run. Even Mike Redmond is more of a threat there and at least he doubles occassionally. Needless to say, sitting Nevin for four games after trading a relatively valuable pitching prospect in Adam Harben for him is beyond annoying. It's completely ridiculous.
If the Twins want to have any hope of pulling out of this series and staying alive in the wild-card race, they need all the big bats they can have. You have to hope that Matt Garza will have a much better start tonight, but will it matter? The Twins need to seriously break out of their slump and if you have a game plan that involves Tyner DHing and a starting pitcher leaving because of "stomach ailments," you need to re-evaluate.
This team looks like it's fading fast. They may get Liriano back next week, but if their offense can't turn things around substantially, it won't matter.