It’s been struggle so far with a couple of high moments for the Twins on their seven-game swing through some of the top teams in the AL East, and they didn’t have to play the best one, the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Yankees pounced on the Twins to start the trip, winning two games pretty handily, then Jason Kubel’s heroics in the third game gave them newfound hope that maybe they could hang with the big boys in the AL. If any hit was ever going to get the monkey of their back it was that one.
The Twins relayed the triumph into a convincing 8-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays the next night, but the Jays quickly answered back with an 11-2 trouncing the next day to close out the two-game series in Toronto.
On Wednesday night the Twins visited Boston and starter Clay Bucholz put the clamps down on the Twins lineup. Except for a ninth-inning rally, the Twins bats did virtually nothing against the upstart righty all night.
David Ortiz hit his eighth home run of the season off Twins starter Scott Baker, and is now batting .358 with seven homers in May after hitting just .143 with one long ball in April. Once again he has shaken the doubters and returned to supremacy.
So here they are, 2-4 overall on the road trip with a chance to split with the Red Sox tonight.
However, the Twins are in line with about what’s come to be expected of them.
To date, they are just 25-52 combined against the Yankees, Blue Jays and Red Sox since 2007.
They are 6-7 overall versus the AL East and 15-8 against the AL Central in 2010. They beat up on the division and play mediocre against the rest of the AL.
Oh and don’t forget that the Twins dominate in interleague play, which begins Friday night when the Milwaukee Brewers visit Target Field. The Twins have the second-best interleague record to date, 132-96.
If the Twins could only play the Central and Interleague games all season, the Twins would be the best in baseball…
But the fact remains and it’s been none more evident than in the Twins recent road trip that they collapse when they take on the better teams outside of their division.
A 49-73 record against the AL East since 2007 isn’t good for a bad team, let alone a team that is a proven winner.
And this squad is better built squad than ones they’ve had in previous seasons, so the expectations need to be raised.
One thing that has been extremely evident in the Twins struggles during this road-trip is the inability of their starters to work deep into games. Only Nick Blackburn has been able to make it past six innings of work.
The bats have been inconsistent as well, especailly in clutch situations.
Francisco Liriano (4-2, 2-63) will take the mound for Twins tonight, looking to get back on track after losing his last two starts.
He had one of his best starts of the season last time against the Red Sox, pitching seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts in the Twins 8-0 victory last month.
The Red Sox will counter with Jon Lester (3-2, 3.91), who struggled against the Twins in the Target Field opener, giving up four runs in five innings.
Game time is slated for a 6:10 pm start and will be aired on FSN.
The Twins return home to face the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night at 7:10 pm.