It's hard to believe, but the Twins are approaching rock bottom and have now slid beneath the .500 mark. The Twins were unable to hit any of the Angels' top pitchers -- from Kelvim Escobar to John Lackey to Jered Weaver yesterday -- and in doing so the Twins have utterly wasted their one big opportunity to squirm back into the playoff race. While the Twins lost five of six to the Angels and Royals, the top two teams in the AL Central standings -- the Indians and Tigers -- were having skids of their own, as both teams have gone 4-6 in their last ten games.
By not taking advantage of the poor play from the teams ahead of them, the Twins are essentially out of the playoff picture. They're not going to get the Wild Card, as either the streaking Yankees, one of the Central teams, Seattle, or maybe even Boston will be taking it. The Twins are seven games out in the Central lead and eight out in the Wild Card standings. Neither of those are necessarily insurmountable leads, but this team is not fooling anyone with their recent play.
Yesterday's game was only the most recent addition to a list of embarrassing losses for the Twins. Thankfully, the Twins didn't waste another great start, as Boof Bonser was just as miserable on the mound as the Twins hitters were at the plate. Bonser gave up nine hits, five runs, and four walks over 5 2/3 innings while striking out just three Angels, increasing his ERA to 4.77. The offense did score two runs, but most of the hitters were staggeringly bad, as five Twins went hitless, including Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter, and Michael Cuddyer, who went a combined 0-for-12. The few positives came with Joe Mauer going 2-for-4 with a double, Alexi Casilla collecting two hits, two stolen bases, and two runs scored (though he did commit his sixth error), and Jason Bartlett picking up both RBI with a sac fly and his third triple of the season.
Though any lingering postseason dreams for the Twins may have died with the Angels sweep, tonight's match-up should provide some great entertainment for any baseball fan, as Johan Santana faces off against Seattle's young ace Felix Hernandez. I'd like to keep some hope for the team to turn the season around, but with each loss like yesterday's, the Twins inch closer and closer toward avoiding the playoffs.