It’s not like the Twins haven’t been here before.
Either Cleveland’s imposing sweep at Target Field will send the Twins into a death spiral or Minnesota will overcome it just like they’ve overcome a number of mini slumps this season.
“Collectively, it was a frustrating series,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said Sunday. “Somehow you’ve got to get past it, learn from it. They played better. There’s no question, they did everything better.”
After starting the season 4-0 the Twins lost 10 of 14 and were 8-10 on April 23. They responded with 11 wins in their next 15 games. Mini slump No. 1 was averted.
The Twins dropped three straight in mid-May to the Indians and Rockies and then rattled off wins in seven of their next nine. Mini slump No. 2, dead.
Then, after losing a 15-inning heartbreaker to the Rays, the Astros beat them up for 40 runs in a three-game sweep at Target Field. But again, Minnesota responded with six victories on a 10-game road trip. Mini slump No. 3, eliminated.
Mini slump No. 4
The last nine have been bad. Seven losses, including four all-important against the Indians. At 34-33 the Twins are in danger of dropping to .500 for the first time since April 28, but perspective is key here. They’re still only two games behind a division leader that’s failed to convince fans in Ohio that they’re the real deal.
“It is OK to have some actual concern,” said Indians beat writer Doug Lesmerises on the Takes by the Lake podcast. “The rotation, I think, that was overblown at the start of the year by some people how good the rotation was. Danny Salazar is the one in spring training who said it could be the best rotation in baseball. That’s fine for him to say, but anybody who grabbed onto that in a realistic way… you know Salazar and (Carlos) Carrasco were not really that established. (Corey) Kluber was the only truly established guy and you didn’t know about (Josh) Tomlin and (Trevor) Bauer.
“I think that’s legit, and I’m not exactly sure how you fix it. So I think there are some legitimate things to be concerned about.”
Minnesota plays six straight against the division this week. Three at home against the White Sox and three more on the road against Cleveland, so things could flip in a positive direction just as quickly as the positivity dried up over the weekend.
And remember, the Indians are better on the road (21-14) than at home (15-17) and the Twins are worse at home (14-24) than on the road (20-9).
This week’s Twins-Indians series is in Cleveland.