I mentioned in this space recently that I thought Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire could be the first to get the axe in the 2006 MLB season, as his team is grossly underachieving.
There were reports of lack of discipline in the clubhouse and on the field last year and it looks like things have gone from bad to worse this year. On Sunday the Twins scored 7 runs in the first inning, to answer the 3 that the White Sox had posted in the top of the frame.
Then the Twins allowed the defending World Series champions to storm back for a 9-7 win and in the process get nailed on a embarrassing triple play in the 6th inning. With Nick Punto on second and Shannon Stewart on first, the Twins Luis Castillo popped up a bunt and a charging Paul Konerko made a shoestring catch.
How in the world could Konerko right himself and throw to first for a double play and then second baseman Tadahito Iguchi fired to Juan Uribe at second for a triple play. The first rule of thumb that a little league player is taught on a sacrifice bunt, is to make sure the ball hits the ground before taking off.
What is heck were Punto and Stewart thinking and why did Gardenhire not sit their butts down on the bench. Sunday’s game was also the first time in AL history that a starting pitcher (Mark Buehrle) allowed 7 runs in the first inning and won a game.
Scott Baker was the latest Twin to get roughed up for Minnesota, whose starters have a collective 6.51 ERA, the worst in either league! The Twins needed a strong start from Baker, especially with everyone else in the rotation not named Johan Santana still struggling to find their form. Before the game, righty Carlos Silva was sent to the bullpen temporarily to give him more time to straighten himself out.
Budding star lefty Francisco Liriano will fill his spot for now as the starters are an embarrassing 13-21.
In eight starts, Silva is 2-6 with an 8.80 ERA and 74 hits and 15 homers allowed in 46 innings. After going 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 2004, his first year as a starter, the righty pitched through an injured right knee and was picked as Minnesota’s most improved player in 2005. He went 9-8 with a 3.44 ERA in 188-plus innings and led the majors with the fewest walks, 0.4 — per nine innings.
The Twins are a horrible 7-14 in their own division and now head to Motown to face the surging Tigers, who are the most improved team in baseball. After that they face the Brewers in Milwaukee and a embarrassing road trip, could spell the end to Gardenhire’s regime in the Twin cities!