The Twins hit the ball well for the first six weeks of the season, building a 24-15 record on May 19. Since then, though, they have dropped 10 of 14 games, scoring three runs or fewer in eight of the losses.
Minnesota fell 5-2 to Tampa Bay on Thursday to drop to 1-3 on its 13-game homestand, and losing its fourth series in a row. It was the Twins’ fifth loss in seven games against the Devil Rays over the last 10 days, while hitting .179 against them.
“We’ve been hitting the ball pretty good,” said outfielder Lew Ford, who had his first career leadoff homer Thursday. “At the same time, there are those times coming up where we have guys on base and really need a run and we’re not getting it right now. Hopefully, we can turn it around soon.”
Ford, who leads the team in batting, has a nine-game hitting streak, going 11-for-32 (.344) with two homers, three RBIs and six runs scored in the stretch.
“We’re not just totally putting bad swings on the ball,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “But we’re not putting enough good swings together and we’re not getting any breaks going our way. Good teams find a way to make those happen.”
The Tigers come to the Metrodome with their own troubles. Detroit manager Alan Trammell returned to the ballpark Thursday after missing the previous two games with flu-like symptons, but did not appear in the dugout during the Tigers’ 9-6 loss to the Royals for their eighth loss in 11 games.
“Tram has been able to keep some food down, but he is still having problems with dizziness, so he will be examined by the doctors again tonight,” Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said Thursday. “At this point, we aren’t sure if he will manage … in Minnesota or not. We’ll take it day by day.”
Bench coach Kirk Gibson has managed the team in Trammell’s absence with the help of pitching coach Bob Cluck.