At times like this, it's tough sledding for Ron Gardenhire.
The manager is surely as frustrated as anyone by his team's early offensive funk, doing everything in his power to turn things around. Yesterday, he gave Michael Cuddyer a start at second base and uncharacteristically wrote in Joe Mauer at catcher for a day game following a night game.
It was the best offensive lineup he could possibly put on the field against Brandon McCarthy and the A's, but the results were the same as ever. The Twins fell 5-3, marking the seventh time in nine games that they've been held to three runs or less.
At this point, there's not much Gardenhire can do other than pray that the baseball gods hurry up and show some mercy.
Mauer is hitting .233 with a .570 OPS. Delmon Young is hitting .188 with a .431 OPS. Cuddyer is hitting .107 with a stunningly bad .301 OPS.
Looking up and down the Twins' lineup, you find numbers like this almost across the board. Yesterday Gardenhire trotted out his 'A' lineup and when the game ended only two members of that group were hitting above .258. The team has managed a total of three home runs -- and allowed four times as many.
Ugly early-season trends tend to cause a lot of panic, but ultimately they almost always even out. You may recall that over the first couple months of the 2010 season the Twins struggled mightily with the bases loaded, but they went on to finish the campaign with a robust .320 batting average in such situations.
Mauer and the rest of the the gents powering the Twins lineup are very good hitters. It's odd to see so many of them slump simultaneously at the outset of the season, but there's virtually no doubt that those bats will ramp up, and soon.
But how soon?
Gardenhire can only hope that it will be this week, as the Twins host a Royals team that's opened with a surprising 6-3 record.
What better time than now for reality to set in for both clubs?