Back home at Target Field. Joe Mauer back in the lineup. Francisco Liriano – your Game 1 starter – on the mound. And the uplifting news that Justin Morneau could be on the path to recovery from a concussion. All of these factors seemed like just what the Twins needed to get over the five-game losing streak that had been snapped the night before.
Instead, Thursday’s game was just like five of the previous six, with the Twins losing to the Toronto Blue Jays 13-2 to open the team’s final series before the playoffs.
Minnesota has now given up double-digits in runs in five of the last seven games. But Thursday’s loss wasn’t comparable to the 11-10 loss the Twins took when Liriano left early with an upset stomach in his last start. Nor was it comparable to the Nick Blackburn 10-1 loss or the Kevin Slowey 10-8 loss. This was your Game 1 starter. And with Mauer back, the Twins lineup looked more like a playoff one rather than a Rochester Red Wings one.
Twins designated hitter and the state’s latest 40-year-old icon, Jim Thome, is expected to play Friday. Carl Pavano – the Twins workhorse, routinely going 7 innings in a start – pitches for Minnesota. Can Pavano be the stopper? Twins are going to need him to be. Momentum is overrated, but these losses are getting pretty embarrassing and will certainly be a talking point for baseball analysts as the playoffs approach.