As bad as that sounds — as bad as that IS — it's not fatal. Cleveland and Kansas City still don't look like long-term contenders to me, and the Twins are within two games of both Chicago and Detroit.
But, obviously, the Twins can't keep playing .333 ball. They're in last place on merit, failing and flailing in almost every category. There are, I think, six players — Denard Span and Jason Kubel among the position players, Scott Baker and Brian Duensing among the starting pitchers, Matt Capps and Glen Perkins in the bullpen — who are doing what they're expected to do (or, in Perkins' case, exceeding expectations).
|Justin Morneau hit|
his first homer of the
season on Sunday.
Today I'll start examining specific issues. And I'm going to start with one of the former MVPs, Justin Morneau.
I'm no doctor, but it seems fairly obvious that last season's concussion remains a problem. Even without considering his month-long slump (.225/.289/.338 with one homer), the defensive sloppiness suggests a certain lack of acuity.
Twice this season the Twins have picked a runner off first base and lost him in the rundown. Both failed rundowns began to break down when Morneau made a wrong decision. Against Toronto — in the very first inning of the very first game — he gave up the ball too soon; against Kansas City on Sunday he held the ball too long. A rundown is a rather fluid play, and he seems unable to keep up with it.
It was reported this weekend that he remains on medication and subject to fatigue. Obviously he has been cleared by the medical people to play, and I accept the assertion that he's at no greater risk of injury than anybody else, even with the meds.
But to this decidedly non-medical set of eyes, he's not ready to play.
I don't expect him to bench himself. The man has taken far too much criticism the past couple of years for missing games, he's medically cleared to play, he wants to try to earn his pay, he's important to the team.
He's not producing, and I doubt that he's physically capable of producing — not only to his accustomed standards, but merely to the level of a major-league first baseman.