Sunday, July 26, 2009

Road to disaster

A week ago, it seemed clear that if the Twins did anything before the July 31 trading deadline, it would be as buyers, not sellers.

With one game left to another disastrous West Coast swing, it's not so certain.

As with last year's GOP-inspired death march up and down the Pacific Coast and into Canada, the Twins started this post-All Star trip swing with a pair of wins. Then came last Sunday's 12-inning loss at Texas, a pair of pitching disasters in Oakland, and now three straight losses in Anaheim.

Seven days, seven games, six losses, four opponent innings of at least five runs. For the week, the starters pitched 33 innings — fewer than five innings per start — and allowed 33 earned runs. (California high school math ... starters ERA, 9.00.)

The bullpen? 21 earned runs in 28.2 innings — 6.59 ERA.

Then there's the middle infield.

Alexi Casilla has started every game on this trip. He is 4 for 32, a .125 batting average. That is also his slugging percentage. I'm starting to take a morbid fascination in watching this man's career spiral down.

Nick Punto is 5 for 24, a .208 batting average. This is actually an improvement.

Brendan Harris is 4 for 27 (.148) and is now hitting .179 for the month.

There's just a whole lot going wrong right now. Joe Crede has played once this week, and why he's not on the DL is a mystery. Kevin Slowey may need surgery on his wrist, which means Swarzak remains in the rotation, which means he's not available to take Glen Perkins' spot if Perkins' shoulder proves a real problem

The thing is, they weren't that far from a decent road trip. They coulda-shoulda won last Sunday. They coulda-shoulda won that ridiculous 14-13 game in Oakland on Monday. They coulda-shoulda won the first game in Anaheim, the extra-inning affair in which the game-tying hit bounced off Joe Nathan's glove and off second base. Hang on to just two of those three, and the Twins would be 5-4 going into today's finale in Anaheim.

Coulda. Shoulda. Didn't.

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