The Twins had an interesting first month of baseball to say the least. April featured a number of snow postponements, a 16 inning “slugfest” in Puerto Rico, and having Ryan LaMarre, and outfielder, pitch to get us out of the inning. But, one thing held true through all the strange events that took place, we still can’t beat the damn Yankees.
After one week of cold baseball, the Twins found themselves with a record of 4-3 after series with the Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Seattle Mariners.
The following week, the state of Minnesota decided it just wanted a bit more snow to close out what was already a long winter. The Twins started off winning the series against the Houston Astros which was promising to see. Then, our four game series with the Chicago White Sox was reduced to one game because of snow fall. Fortunately, the team was able to get away from the cold and snow because they were set to take on the Cleveland Indians in Puerto Rico. Home of Jose Berrios and Eddie Rosario. During this week the Twins went 4-2 which brought them to 8-5.
Things got ugly from this point on. In a seven game road series with the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees, the Twins went 0-7. The Rays managed to sneak away with two games they shouldn’t have won but we just have to do a better job of closing teams out late in games. The Yankees on the other hand demolished us for the most part. Our closer Fernando Rodney took us into the 9th with a 2-1 lead in the final game of the series but managed to blow the save. This meant we had now been swept in two series in a row. This put a huge dent in our record which then stood at 8-12.
After a rough road series, it felt refreshing that we had one of the worst teams in baseball coming to Minneapolis for a three game series. The Cincinnati Reds thought otherwise as they won the series 2-1. The pitching was awful for two of these three games. A theme that has been consistent for the second half of the month.
The Twins finished April with a record of 9-15 after another loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night. After a solid start, let’s analyze what went wrong in the latter half of April.
The most obvious reason for recent struggles can be attribute to the pitching by both the starters and the bull pen. They have a team era of 5.29 which ranks second to last in the American League. The pitching will need to improve if the Twins want to secure back to back playoff births.
The bats haven’t exactly been inspiring thus far either. They rank 11th in the American League in batting average. For on base percentage, the Twins rank 7th in the AL which is somewhat of a good sign.
Who are some players that had nice Aprils?
- Eduardo Escobar
Batting .301, tied for the team lead of 14 RBI’s, and hitting for power as he has 4 home runs so far, Eduardo Escobar has had the best start to the 2018 MLB season. He has also hit 11 doubles which leads the team.
- Max Kepler
Hitting just under .300, Max Kepler has come up big when the Twin’s needed him. Even last night in a loss to the Blue Jays, Kepler hit a double down the left field line to give the Twins a chance at tying or taking the lead. The most impressive thing Kepler has done so far is that he has only struck out 9 times in 87 at bats.
- Jose Berries
Other than his last start, Berries has looked phenomenal in his 2018 campaign. He leads the team in strikeouts with 36. He also has the best ERA on the team at 3.63. His BB/9 has been really impressive as well. He’s going to be an Ace for a long time and it’s exciting to watch.
Who started off slow?
- Logan Morrison
The obvious answer here has to be LoMo. He was in a deep slump to start the season but has slowly picked things up as April came to a close. He’s now batting .145 with an OBP% of .253. Both ugly numbers in their own right.
- Lance Lynn
Another free agent acquisition who’s had a rough start in his first year with the Minnesota Twins. Lynn has a record of 0-3 with an ERA of 8.37 over 23.2 innings. His H9 and HR9 are both way too high for what is expected of him. Hopefully he can get things turned around soon, if he does, the wins and momentum should return.
- Phil Hughes
After returning from his stint in the minor leagues, Hughes has had an extremely rough start. An ERA over 7 suggests that claim is correct. I don’t see Hughes really making an great improvement either. Let’s just hope Ervin Santana can return as soon as possible so Hughes can go to the bullpen to be a relief pitcher for extended innings.
There is still a lot to look forward with this Twins team. In May, we have 10 games against the White Sox, Tigers, and Royals, all teams we should handle easily. We have 12 games at home, 16 games away. At least now we won’t have to worry about any snow delays so we can just get to playing baseball. Now all we have to worry about is winning games.
We are currently 4.5 games by the Cleveland Indians in the fight for the American Central Division. After this rough stretch we find ourselves a half game behind the Detroit Tigers but I expect that to change soon once we find a little rhythm. The Twins need Buxton, Santana, and the rest of the crew to get healthy or maintain there health for the long run otherwise this could end up being a disappointing season. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out in the next 4 weeks. I’ll have another recap at the end of May and hopefully I’ll only have positives to write about.
photo credit – therunnersports.com