Twins-Mariners: Twins Find a Formidable Opponent in Last-Place Mariners

Timothy BogerCorrespondent IAugust 26, 2008

When Seattle was in Minnesota two weeks ago, the Aflac Trivia Question on Saturday night was: Who holds the record for most games back at the end of a year?

The answer was the Devil Rays, who were something to the tune of 51 games back in 1999. The question was more of a reference to the Mariners, who might challenge that record. As of tonight, they are 31 games behind Los Angeles for first place in the A.L. West.

But, despite their now 50-82 record, tied for second worst in the league behind Washington (tied with San Diego), their team 4.79 ERA, or their 31-game hole behind L.A., they still can baffle the Minnesota Twins. They did just that again Tuesday night in an all-too-predictable 3-2 victory.

This loss by the Twins puts them at an even 4-4 against the usually laughable Mariners. It also drops them to 1-4 in Safeco Field. What is even more comical is the way the Twins have managed to lose almost every game out on in Seattle. They've been outscored 39-24, giving up an average of seven runs per game, thanks in part to the 11-6 debacle on Aug. 4.

It's also worth noting, of course, that the Twins had notable failures while attempting to retire the No. 3 and No. 4 batters, Raul Ibanez and Adrian Beltre. The two combined to go .488, with three home runs, 15 RBI, and seven runs in the first five games of the Twins @ Mariners season series.

Maybe we can chalk it up to bad luck. Maybe we can chalk it up to the Twins being a poor road team.

But this is a team that can't have any excuses. Minnesota did not come this far only to have their chances of a fifth playoff appearance in the last seven years dashed. Dashed by a last-place team in the west.

These road games against, literally, the worst team in the American League, are games that need to be won. It is the wrong place and wrong time to dabble around and let the Mariners stomp all over them. The pair of losses drops the Twins to two games behind both the White and Red Sox in the division and wild card, respectfully.

So, without a win tomorrow, and at least four or five more wins on this road trip, the Twins are in a bad spot. The odds are good Wednesday, of course, as Kevin Slowey makes his legendary last-start-of-the-month start tomorrow. Slowey, a legitimate contender for the Twins' title of "ace" in 2009, is 3-0 in the last start of each month (May, June, July), giving up only one run through those three.

Let's hope the Twins can give him some decent run support, like they should do against the third-worst pitching staff in the majors. Hope is all the Twins can do.