If the Boston Red Sox aren't the most disappointing team in the majors so far this season, that title likely goes to the Minnesota Twins. Expected to be their usual solid, playoff-contender selves, the Twins are off to an 11-18 start. So what's gone wrong with Ron Gardenhire's team? Try everything.
Offensively, the Twins are the worst team in the league with a .279 wOBA. Only Jason Kubel's .400 mark (propelled by a .393 BABIP) even breaks .330. Justin Morneau is still struggling to regain his old form after his concussion last year, while Joe Mauer has missed most of the year with leg weakness after an offseason knee surgery. While every other team but the Padres are into the triple digits in runs--most having long since surpassed that mark--the Twins trail woefully behind at 89.
If that wasn't bad enough, they are also the only team in the league with a pitching staff producing a negative WAR. Scott Baker and Brian Duensing--who the Red Sox will face in the first two games--have had fine starts to the season, but Francisco Liriano has been terrible to start the year--even his no-hitter was more in the vein of an Edwin Jackson's than anything else--and Nick Blackburn is his typical middling self.
The real problem, though, is in the bullpen. While Matt Capps has made up somewhat for Joe Nathan, who is clearly not right after his Tommy John Surgery last year, and Glen Perkins can provide a good inning, the rest of the bunch is just an absolute mess, totaling a -1.1 WAR.
If the Twins do have something going for them, it's that their flyball pitchers are backed up by strong defense in right and center field. Usually flyballs are a good sign for a team, but really, with the Twins' middle infield being such a mess, putting the ball on the ground might not be the worst thing in the world for our lefty pull hitters. I'm looking at you, Jacoby.
Here's the problem, though: the Red Sox just don't seem to do that well against bad teams. Omitting the 0-6 start, the Sox have gone 6-2 against the Angels and 2-1 against the Yankees while reviving the Rays from their own terrible start and falling to the Orioles and Mariners. There's no real reason this should be anything more than a blip on the radar, but at some point, this team needs to actually get around to beating the league's worst.
The four-game series starts tonight at 7:10 p.m. EST.