The power hitters in the lineup have combined for one homer in 12 games.
Francisco Liriano, the team's one hope for a true frontline ace, has been categorically awful.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the marquee offseason addition, broke his leg and was placed on the shelf before the home opener.
Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan have returned to the field after lengthy layoffs, but haven't approached their previous levels of effectiveness. Both have struggled mightily.
And, of course, the Twins have opened the season with a 4-8 record, averaging a paltry three runs per game while failing to cross the plate more than five times in any contest.
A bleak young season took a potentially catastrophic turn last night when, in the wake of their deflating extra-inning loss to the Rays, the Twins placed Joe Mauer on the disabled list with what they are cryptically terming "bilateral leg weakness."
In describing his catcher's specific injury, Ron Gardenhire was none too specific:
"He is definitely very, very sore over the last few days -- his shoulder, his elbow -- and we think it's his legs just not strong enough underneath him and he says he feels terrible.I have no desire to be an alarmist, but let's take an honest look at the facts here:
"His knee is actually feeling OK but he's compensating for the weakness in his upper leg, this is what I was told, that's causing a lot of other problems."
* Following a spectacular 2009 campaign that earned him AL MVP honors, Mauer inked an eight-year, $184 million contract -- one of the largest in major-league history -- set to begin in 2011.
* Last year, while finishing out his prior contract, Mauer battled numerous injuries in a solid but hardly spectacular effort. The catcher acknowledged that making it through the season was a struggle, saying during TwinsFest this year: "Looking back, I was happy and proud to be out there as much as I was."
* Knee soreness that increasingly hobbled Mauer late in the season led to surgery in December. The operation was performed on the same knee that required surgery during his rookie season. In fact, it was performed by the same doctor. Afterwards, general manager Bill Smith stressed that the procedure was considered minor, stating that doctors "believe that it will be no problem for him in Spring Training and that he'll be ready well in advance of Spring Training."
* Those doctors were wrong. When Mauer reported to spring training this year, he was -- in his own words -- "a mess." He missed the first few weeks of exhibition play, debuting at catcher on March 19 and participating in only eight games. And now, with this young season underway, Mauer batted .235 with one extra-base hit, three walks and a 72-percent grounder rate in his first nine games before landing on the disabled list with a vague injury.
Frankly, I don't know how any Twins fans can look at this series of events and not feel nauseous, especially in light of the fact that recent trades of Wilson Ramos and Jose Morales have left the organization without a single passable bat at the catcher position. For an already anemic offense, the loss of Mauer is quite simply the worst thing that could have happened, and at this point we can't even begin to guess when he'll be back on the field.
When I expressed doubt about this team's outlook prior to the season, I called out a crippling lack of depth as the roster's principal pitfall. A little over two weeks into the campaign, we've got Drew Butera and Steve Holm splitting catching duties while Gardenhire writes in Michael Cuddyer at second base and ponders replacing Alexi Casilla with Luke Hughes at shortstop. Even in my darkest moments I could have hardly envisioned such a horrific scenario.
Over the past decade, Twins teams have shown an uncanny ability to come together and beat the odds under dire circumstances. I'll try and hope that this trait can reemerge in the coming weeks and months, because at this point things are about as dreary as they've ever been during this blog's six-year existence, and we're only in April.