I would say the Twins keep finding new and more excruciating ways to lose this season, but Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Tigers — though particularly gruesome in that the Twins led 5-1 going into the ninth inning — followed an all-too-familiar script.
Early offense? Yeah, that wasn't a problem. Mitch Garver crushed a first-inning grand slam, staking the Twins to a 4-0 lead. But then the offense disappeared in a sea of failed opportunities, ultimately stalling out with that Garver bomb accounting for their only hit in 12 at bats with runners in scoring position.
It probably shouldn't have mattered with a four-run lead after eight innings, but even leaving the door slightly open is a dangerous game. Give the Twins opposition a chance to tie the game with one swing and anything is possible — and that's what happened when Hansel Robles allowed the game-tying grand slam in the ninth.
There have been 95 grand slams in the majors this season. The Twins BULLPEN has allowed six of them. On the bright side?
I talked on Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast about the tone that was set from the beginning of the season when Alex Colome couldn't hold a lead in the very first game — and how this season surely is grinding on Twins players.
If you don't see the podcast player, click here to listen.
Let's talk for a minute here — briefly, since the wreckage is unsightly — about the latest impact of the Twins' bullpen woes.
The standings don't matter much at this point, with the Twins 43-59 after the Tigers finished things off with a 6-5 win in 11 innings on Tuesday. But with Minnesota firmly entrenched in last place in the AL Central, the point of the next few days is to recoup any assets for even marginally effective players — particularly those not under contract next year.
Two relief pitchers have imploded at the wrong times on that front.
First, Colome gave up a tying two-run homer in the ninth inning Monday. The Twins still won that game, but it was not helpful in any sort of Colome deal. A potential acquiring team might have looked at his decent (3.25) ERA between May 1 and this past Sunday and thought he could help.
But with Colome this season, the issue has mostly been when he pitches poorly not how often. Opponents have an OPS over 1.000 in high-leverage situations this season against Colome, more than 400 points higher than in medium- or low-leverage spots. It's hard to imagine a contender being interested in that, with Monday's game being just the latest example.
Robles, meanwhile, had a 2.76 ERA a little over a month ago. That has ballooned to 11.12 since then, putting his overall mark near 5. Good luck getting anything for Robles.
Add in Taylor Rogers' trip to the injured list — probably minor and his first trip there in his career, but still not ideal if a Rogers trade is also being discussed — and the last two games have been disastrous in terms of relief pitcher trade value.
It's just one more thing that went wrong this year.