Theoretically, it gets easier now for the Twins. Theoretically.
Thursday's off day was the period that ended a run-on sentence of the (projected) best teams in the league. The Twins just completed series against the Rangers, Angels, Yankees, Rays and Red Sox -- 16 games (about 10 percent of the season) in which Minnesota went just 5-11.
The teams the Twins have played this season, including the opening series at Baltimore, are a combined 63-49 -- and that's with Anaheim going 6-13.
It is hardly surprising that the Twins were under .500 in that string of games, even if the Angels haven't come close to living up to their off-season hype, but a couple more wins out of that stretch (and a 7-9 mark) would have been encouraging. Nor is it a surprise that those lineups racked up some numbers on the pitching staff, but a starters' ERA of 7.09 is far worse than I anticipated.
Now the sentence is over, and a new paragraph begins. The Twins get a somewhat softer schedule now: Kansas City, Angels, Seattle, Angels (again?), then Toronto before a serious dip into divisional play.
The first 19 games of the 2012 season have doused the embers of belief. They have served to confirm that 2011 was not a mere aberration, that the Twins are truly that flawed a team. Nineteen games is not a lot to base judgment on, but it is almost 12 percent of the schedule, and it follows last season's misery.
Again: The schedule gets easier now, and the results are likely to improve as a result. It's going to take a lot to make up for this brutal beginning.