Minnesota Twins Continue To Struggle out of the Gate

Zeke Fuhrman@@mellamoelzekeAnalyst IIIMay 1, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 24: Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after being tagged out at home plate for the final out of the third inning against the Cleveland Indians during their game on April 24, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Twins defeated the Indians 4-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Finally. April is over.

And Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire couldn't be happier.

"This is not the way we planned on starting out," Gardenhire told Foxsports.com's Tyler Mason. "As I told the boys tonight, we're starting out 0-0. We're 0-0 tomorrow. It's time to get busy and start playing the way we know how to play."

The Twins, who were picked by most major sports media sites to win the division, find themselves an American League-worst 9-18 after the first month of the 2011 season, and it is their worst start since the 1995 season.

But hey, at least one of those wins is against the Yankees.

Things have gone from bad to worse. From big (and basically only) offseason signing Tsuyoshi Nishioka breaking his leg against New York and Joe Mauer and Delmon Young landing on the disabled list to the un-imergance of Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano to the offense's inability to score runs (Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer are hitting a combined .227), it has been a tough 27 games for the Twins.

I never thought I would say this, but I miss Jesse Crain.

The Twins ended April on a six-game losing streak after being swept by the Tampa Bay Rays (15-13) and the Kansas City Royals (15-13), and the Twins haven't been swept in a three-game series by the Royals since 1998...a season in which the Twins finished 70-92. The Twins have swept the Royals 16 times since 1998, and are 118-76 against Kansas City during Ron Gardenhire's tenure.

The Twins are 1-6 against Tampa Bay this season, and have been outscored 18-44 in the seven games. The Twins are also 2-0 against the AL-best Cleveland Indians (19-8), which shows that baseball is a streaky game.

Although the 9-18 start is the worst start during the Ron Gardenhire era, the Twins traditionally start slow in April, and are 84-116 in April since 2002, which is when Gardenhire took the reigns from Tom Kelly. Gardenhire has six division championships ('02, '03, '04, '06, '09, '10) and only one losing record (79-83 in 2007) in 10 seasons.

If the Twins are going to get on a run, the month of May is when it will happen. They play Chicago, Boston, Toronto, Arizona, LA Angels and two series against Detroit and Seattle. These teams have a combined 85-107 record, and only the LA Angels are above .500.