Found May 21, 2013 on
Fox Sports North:
During Minnesota's recent home stand, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked about his team not being able to get over the hump of the .500 mark. For the most part this season, Minnesota has hovered around a .500 record, give or take a few games in either direction.
The Twins have yet to go more than two games over .500, and Monday's 5-1 loss to Atlanta dropped Minnesota to a season-low five games under .500. Given the way the last two seasons finished, playing .500 baseball might not seem like such a bad thing for the Twins.
Gardenhire made it clear, however, that he has expected more from his team throughout the first 40 games.
"We want to win," Gardenhire said. "We want to win baseball games and win series. Our goals are to win series. When you do that, then you start moving above .500. That's definitely not a goal of ours to stay .500. That's a defeatist attitude, and I'm not into that."
A year ago, Minnesota lost 96 games and had the worst starting rotation in the American League. The year before, injuries played a big part in a 99-loss season for Minnesota, the first time in a long time that Twins fans endured a year like that.
Now after back-to-back 90-loss seasons, finishing the year .500 would appear to be a big step forward.
As the Twins near the two-month mark of the season, they have work to do to even get to that point. After two more games in Atlanta, Minnesota heads to face the Detroit Tigers for four games before a two-game trip to Milwaukee.
But Gardenhire's players have reiterated that simply getting to .500 is not the goal.
"Obviously it's better than where we were last year, but nobody in here is satisfied with where we're at," said Twins catcher Joe Mauer. "Just try to keep getting better and win series. It's still early enough that we've just got to keep playing."
With Monday's loss to the Braves, Minnesota is now 18-23 and in last place in the American League Central. The Twins are seven games behind the surprising Cleveland Indians, who are in first place with a record of 26-17. If Minnesota were simply to be at .500 at this point, it would be 4.5 games out of first place.
Despite the Twins' recent skid Monday's loss was their sixth in a row the 2013 season has felt different than the past two years. Starting pitching remains a concern, but Minnesota's starters have made an improvement from last year. On top of that, the Twins have stayed relatively injury-free. Mauer and Justin Morneau are healthy and producing; Mauer is batting .333 while Morneau's average is up to .304 with a team-high 29 RBI.
"You have Joe and Morny who are hitting as well as they are, that's definitely productive for us," said veteran infielder Jamey Carroll, in his second season with the Twins. "Obviously we've had some good starting pitching. That helps. You see that this year we're not as often fighting to try to score some runs after some runs were scored early. That makes a difference."
The Twins' starting pitchers aren't going as deep into games as Gardenhire would have liked. Such was the case Monday when right-hander Kevin Correia lasted just four innings. The starting rotation's ERA is a combined 5.32. Clearly, there's still plenty of work to do. But Minnesota's bullpen has been solid (a 3.24 ERA, 10th in all of baseball), and the Twins' 180 runs and .247 average both rank in the middle of the pack among all MLB teams.
Rarely have the Twins been blown out through the first 40 games. There have been a few clunkers along the way, but Minnesota has remained competitive more often than not.
That's an attitude that wasn't often found in 2011 and 2012, when the Twins would fall behind early and seemingly never have a chance.
"I think we've always had good guys in here," Mauer said. "I think our pitching is improved, which has helped. We're not where we want to be at, I guess, but we think we can be better."
The Twins' current six-game losing streak is their longest of the year. Minnesota hasn't been able to put together more than a five-game winning streak, which came back in mid-April. Since then, the Twins have won more than two in a row just once.
Minnesota will need to win a few series on the road to creep back closer to the .500 mark. But the Twins won't be happy to just stop there.
"We're not by any means satisfied with being .500," said reliever Brian Duensing. "All it takes is one or two big runs and the next thing you know we're right there. Anything can happen, obviously. It's baseball. Obviously we're all still positive. We all have confidence in each other and we know that we can win baseball games and we can score runs. We've just got to put it all together."
Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
BEST OF MAXIM
Kyle Gibson's major league debut will have to wait.
It appeared as if the 25-year-old Gibson was a candidate to fill the Minnesota Twins' vacancy for Friday's rotation spot. Instead, it will be Samuel Deduno making the start in Detroit, the Twins tweeted on Tuesday.
Deduno pitched in 15 games last season for Minnesota and was 6-5 with a 4.44 ERA. While Deduno can be wild...
The Minnesota Twins are shaking up their starting rotation.
After giving up eight runs on Wednesday in an 8-3 loss to Atlanta, right-hander Vance Worley was optioned to Triple-A Rochester. With the loss to the Braves, Worley fell to 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA this season.
Minnesota did not announce a corresponding roster move, although there are a few pitching options at Rochester that...
The Minnesota Twins have placed third baseman Trevor Plouffe on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion after he was struck in the head by Dan Uggla's shin while breaking up an attempted double play.
Plouffe was injured in the 10th inning of Tuesday night's 5-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
He remained down for a few minutes before walking slowly to the dugout, holding...
Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe exited last night's contest against the Atlanta Braves after getting kicked in the head by second baseman Dan Uggla while attempting to break up a double play, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com.
Plouffe has since been placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list as a result of the collision.
RT @twins: #MNTwins place...
Vance Worley just got clobbered again, this time by the Braves. There’s no set and certain point at which a start turns into an official clobbering, but looking through Worley’s 2013 game log, I’d say this was the fifth or sixth time he’s been clobbered, in ten games. That’s an ugly ratio, and to make matters worse, recall that Worley was Minnesota’s opening-day starter...
The Minnesota Twins placed third baseman Trevor Plouffe on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion Wednesday after he was struck in the head by Dan Uggla's shin while breaking up an attempted double play.
Plouffe was injured in the 10th inning of Tuesday night's 5-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
He slammed into Uggla's leg sliding into second base and remained down...
Minnesota native Caleb Thielbar is set to make his major league debut with his hometown team.
The Twins announced Monday that Thielbar, a left-handed reliever, has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester. To make room for Thielbar on the roster, Minnesota optioned left-hander Pedro Hernandez to Rochester.
Thielbar, a native of Randolph, Minn., pitched in 17 games as a reliever this...
Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe was placed on the seven-day DL on Wednesday after being diagnosed with a concussion. After being hit by a Craig Kimbrel fastball in the tenth-inning, Plouffe would attempt to brake up a double play, but in the process would be struck in the head by Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla‘s shin.
Plouffe writhed on the ground for a few minutes...
When the Twins open up their nine-game road trip on Monday night in Atlanta, it will mark the first time this season that Minnesota's pitchers will have to step into the batter's box.
It just so happened that the three Twins starters pitching against the Braves Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and Vance Worley happen to have spent their entire careers in the National League...
Who are the douchebags running the Twins and Braves Twitter accounts? Stand up, douchebags. Be proud of the work you tur…
People were impressed with Kevin Correia’s hot start for the Twins. I said all season that we should enjoy it while it lasted. Now that we have seen Correia implode again, it’s time to hit you with the cold hard facts.The following are Correia’s career monthly ERAs.
So, we can look forward to September...
The Minnesota Twins have promoted power-hitting first baseman Chris Colabello from their triple A affiliate Rochester Red Wings. Colabello took one of the unlikeliest routes to the majors, no big division one scholarship, no major league amateur draft or sexy signing bonus. Nope, this baseball foot soldier played 7 seasons in the Can-Am League, which in laments terms Indy ball.
Are you going to be watching the NBA draft lottery? Wait, you are? All right then, I guess.
I love how the entire crowd reacts. Adorable.
The Twins have added a reliever from the minors who hails from Minnesota. Huge deal.
There is a new way to design your basketball court, apparently, and George Washington is going for it.
Atlanta 5, Minnesota 1 – The Twins still...
MINNEAPOLIS After taking three of four games in Boston earlier this month, the Minnesota Twins returned home on a high for their ensuing nine-game home stand at Target Field.A week and a half later, all that momentum is gone.Minnesota fell 5-1 to the visiting Red Sox on Sunday as Boston completed a three-game sweep. The Twins have now lost five straight games and finished the home...