Twins Swept by Royals. Can We Panic Now?

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Remember last week when the Minnesota Twins were the talk of the league? Back when they were setting franchise records for hot starts? Remember when the Twins were 10-2? That seems like a lifetime ago after the Twins were swept by the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, losing on getaway day 4-2. They have now lost four-straight.

Because of the shortened season, each game in 2020 counts for the equivalent of 2.7 games in a normal 162-game season. That means the Twins have lost what feels like 12 straight games over the last 4 days. Those losses have come against two of the worst teams in all of Major League Baseball, too (3-Royals, 1-Pirates). Entering the year, the Twins had the easiest schedule in baseball… but it hasn’t looked that way these last few days.


While this losing streak has been frustrating, it is hard to say who fans should blame, if anyone at all. With both pitching and offense struggling to produce results, one could say the whole team is to blame and that this is just the worst possible time for cold streaks across the board.

The offense couldn’t put anything together against rookie pitcher Brady Singer, posting only two runs. But the true frustration from Sunday falls on Jose Berrios. Allowing four runs on eight hits with one being a home run to Maikel Franco in the sixth. With no starting pitcher making it beyond six innings lately, how much of that is due to the quick ramp up to the season?

Likely not much. Instead, it is the lack of aggressiveness on the mound and getting ahead in counts. Forget the injuries and lineup juggling, this team is deep enough to win every game on their schedule. While that was never actually going to happen, they shouldn’t be dropping four in a row and getting swept by the Royals.

As I wrote last week, Berrios’ outing continues to prove the Twins need an actual ‘ace’ to compete in 2020. Let alone win the World Series. Tipping your cap and not being horrible won’t cut it.

But will Falvey and Levine make a move before the August 31st deadline? That is yet to be seen. As Derek Falvey mentioned on the Fox Sports North broadcast Friday, the market is likely to be relatively dry. As more teams will be in the hunt for the postseason due to the expanded playoffs and a lack of scouting opportunities to see how players have and will perform.

Tip your hat to the Royals, as Berrios mentioned. They came out and completely shut down the Twins offense…especially out of the pen. Baldelli even mentioned he was impressed with their overall game and game planning.


The Twins had a chance to win each game of their current losing streak. As Taylor Rogers blew a save against the Pirates, a 3-2 squeaker in the first Royals game, one horrific inning in the second game, and another close result in the series finale.

Yet the team could never get over the hump. While the offense hasn’t been completely atrocious and continuing to hit Bombas and get guys on-base, the long ball and runners on-base seem to always come at the most inopportune times. Recent home runs are often solo shots and the base runners are left stranded. Even when the Bombas aren’t solo ones, the bullpen coughs the lead right up. This is obviously not an ideal recipe to win games. Especially in a season where each game holds significant meaning than in year’s past.

As someone who likes to think they know a lot about the inner workings of a baseball team, I am out of answers at the moment. It’ll take a team effort and the veterans in the clubhouse stepping up to make a difference.

While the Twins still have a winning record (10-6) and are in position to make the postseason and win the Central, they are continually decreasing their chances. Getting back to winning needs to happen…duh.

Although the Twins started their record-setting 2019 in a worse fashion and didn’t let that impact them, that was over a 162-game season. With less only 43 games remaining, they need to start clicking immediately. The room for error continues to shrink and their losses are piling up. Still keep the faith as this team is still stacked. But fans are rightfully starting to worry.


Time for the first border battle of the year. As Randy Dobnak (2-1, 0.60 ERA) and his elite ERA will face off against Adrian Houser (1-0, 0.75 ERA) and the Brewers in Milwaukee.

One may look at Houser’s ERA and be concerned with the Twins offense performing. But with only 12 innings pitched in two starts, it is a small sample size. The same could be said for Dobnak, especially with how little he strikes batters out (14.3%). Yet heavily relying on a pitch mix involving a sinker and curveball has been his key to keeping balls in the infield or popping up.

That will be Dobnak’s challenge on Monday though. As he faces a lineup that is starting to put it together. Especially MVP-slugger Christian Yelich. Who through six games in August has hit .300/.500/.900 with three home runs, six RBI, seven runs, and eight walks. A far cry from his performance to begin the year when he had a five OPS+ at one point.

With the Twins offense hitting a wall, this series has gained significant importance. Even more important is that they can’t automatically gain ground against their AL Central opponents when playing NL teams.

It looks like Kenta Maeda will have his scheduled start pushed back a day to Wednesday. Nothing too concerning. But with shorter outings from the starting rotation, one has to question what the outcome will be on Tuesday with an opener.

Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan

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