Just when it seems like things can't get any worse, they do. Never say never with the Twins this year, as they continue to surpass their low point, time after time.
On Monday, they lost both games of a doubleheader to Chicago. Anthony Swarzak gave Minnesota a very strong start in the early session, going seven innings and allowing only two runs. It wasn't enough, though, as the Twins didn't give him any support, scoring just one run in the game. With runners on the corners in the ninth inning, Luke Hughes lined out to left field for a sacrifice fly, putting the Twins on the board.
Who would have thought that that would be the best game, and the only run, the Twins would score in the first three games of the series? I suppose if you've been following the season closely, it might have been a logical guess.
In the night half of the doubleheader, Zach Stewart, who came into the game with a 5.48 ERA on the season, made it through 7 innings before he allowed a baserunner. Danny Valencia broke up the perfect game with a double in the eighth inning, but Stewart went the distance, surrendering the one hit and striking out 9 Minnesota hitters.
Scoring one run across two games, and nearly getting no hit in the second had one positive outcome: Tuesday's game would have to be better. Instead, the Twins got shut out yet again.
In that game, three Twins made their Major League debuts. Liam Hendriks got the start, and pitched admirably, throwing seven innings and giving up just four hits. He made one mistake to Alex Rios, who capitalized and hit a home run, but otherwise he looked quite good, though he did manage to let Adam Dunn on base twice.
Joe Benson didn't help Hendriks out on defense, as he made an ill-advised diving attempt on a Alejandro De Aza liner, letting the ball roll to the wall and De Aza to reach third base. He didn't pick up a hit either, although he did draw a walk in a long at bat to lead off the game. Obviously one game is essentially meaningless, so I am excited to see more of what Benson has to offer.
Chris Parmelee also debuted, and he had two fliners drop into centerfield for hits in his first two plate appearances. He ended the game 2-4 and should see many more opportunities in the waning weeks of the season.
But the Twins as a whole looked ugly, at best. They went 0-10 with runners in scoring position. They struck out 14 times. They are now in last place, behind even the lowly Kansas City Royals, and have been officially eliminated from playoff contention. If they win their final 21 games, they will tie their worst record under Ron Gardenhire. They have lost--outright lost, not tied--their last 7 home series, including holding a record of 3-21 in their previous 24 home games. They have won only 2 series period since the All-Star break.
So, please, next time you write a whole article about how being swept by Baltimore at home, while scoring 4 runs total, is the most embarrassing series Minnesota has ever played, keep in mind that they'll be trying to outdo themselves just two weeks later.
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