|Poetry in motion: Danny Valencia and Tsuyoshi Nishioka|
turn this soft grounder into an infield single — and allow
a runner to score from second base.
Which, it becomes increasingly clear, is the Twins ultimate destination this season. Monday night's sloppy loss reduced the tragic number to 12. It also left Minnesota a mere half-game behind the Kansas City Royals in their desperate battle for last place in baseball's worst division.
When Dick Bremer is repeatedly conceding that the Twins won't win the division — and he seemed to alert the audience to this fact Monday night with the frequency of CNN flashing "breaking news" on two-day-old stories — things have gotten so bad that even the professional optimists of the hometeam broadcast booths can't ignore it.
Monday morning's post cited some sophisticated defensive numbers that put a spotlight on Danny Valencia's shortcomings defensively. Joe Christensen gets specific on what he's doing wrong, particularly on plays to his glove side.
Note there the dissonance between the player and the manager. The manager is focused on the runs the Twins gave away Monday; the third baseman is focused on the runs the Twins hitters didn't create.
When everything is broken, it's not easy to identify what to fix first. The weekend announcement that the Twins will add three days to spring training — not for games, but for defensive drills — suggested that the first priority is going to be defense. Gardenhire's postgame talk about the defensive flaws suggests the same.