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Serious beatings come in large numbers

By Josh Newman
Pipe dream: the Twins are a good, young team and will have an exciting season.

Reality check: the Twins are a good, young team and have a lot to learn.

It will be hard, but I will try not to be too critical. In fact, I will keep it very simple: last week was some of the worst baseball I have seen the Twins play since 1993.

Nick Blackburn made two starts and couldn’t toss more than five innings in either start. Only twice last week did the Twins hold their opponent to fewer than three runs. Opposing batters hit 10 homers off of the Twins hurlers, three apiece surrendered by Blackburn and Francisco Liriano. Glen Perkins failed to record more than three outs in his only start. In fact, he gave up eight earned runs on six hits in that one inning alone.

What’s more, the acronym BS is one we all know, and in the English language, it can be hilarious at times. In baseball, however, it means blown save. And it appeared next to Joe Nathan’s name once. And when that happens, it is the equivalent of a Greek tragedy.

Tip the hat to starting pitcher Anthony Swarzak, though. He should have won both of his starts, but had to settle for a no-decision in one of them. He was instrumental in Minnesota’s 3-2 victory in the second game of that series with seven strong innings. He surrendered two runs in the third inning, but Minnesota came right back with two in the next inning, then went ahead in the 10th inning on a triple by Michael Cuddyer that drove in the eventual game-winning run. Swarzak didn’t get the victory, but without his efforts, they would never have won.

The righthander picked up his victory Sunday in an easy 10-1 trouncing in Anaheim. He lasted 6 2/3 innings and gave up one run on four hits, which was more than good enough for his third win of the season.

Unfortunately, it will be hard to focus on the positives of the week. Swarzak’s efforts are not to be overlooked, but it was just not enough. On any other week, five homers by Justin Morneau would be great, but this time he only had 11 RBI to show for it. Brian Buscher even saw extensive action and showed what he is capable of by going 6-for-17 in four games. Denard Span, Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel, and Cuddyer all had productive weeks at the plate as well.

Outside of those guys, support was about as sparse as brains were during the George W. Bush presidency.

The bottom line is simple: you can’t give up double-digit run totals, and the Twins did that three times last week. Offensively, when one group of players is top-notch, the other group doesn’t have to be the same, but it can’t be non-existent.

This, among many other things the team hopefully will take from last week’s brutal performance, must be applied to this week’s incoming competition. The White Sox are in town for a three game series Monday through Wednesday, followed by a three game home series against Anaheim. They need someone to step up right now.

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