COMMENTARY | If the Minnesota Twins weren't having bad luck right now, they wouldn't have any luck at all.
The Twins haven't been playing well while they have lost nine straight games, but Lady Luck hasn't been doing them any favors either. Right now, it seems every close call is going against them, weakly hit balls by opponents are finding holes in key situations, and well-hit balls by the Twins are finding gloves at the wrong time.
The worst case of this came Thursday, May 23, in a 7-6 loss at the Detroit Tigers. The Twins' bats finally broke out and gave de facto ace Scott Diamond a 5-2 lead. After allowing a two-run homer in the first, Diamond looked to be in control going into the fifth inning. Then everything fell apart.
When Hits Started Falling in for Tigers, Minnesota Twins Couldn't Stop Them
It started with a seemingly harmless two-out hit. No. 9 hitter Avisail Garcia stuck his bat out and hit a roller between Chris Parmelee and Brian Dozier for a single. Then, Omar Infante hit a ball off the handle of his bat but dropped a soft line drive into left field for another hit.
Former Twin Torii Hunter then took the first two pitches. Both appeared to be on the corner, which is where Diamond had been pitching all game. However, both were called balls. Hunter eventually walked on a 3-2 pitch to bring up the best hitter in baseball, Miguel Cabrera, who had homered in the first inning.
Diamond got him to hit a ground ball, but it again was in the right spot. This time it was up the middle, and shortstop Eduardo Escobar could only get a glove on it to keep it in the infield and prevent a second run from scoring.
In the seventh inning, the Tigers got a ground ball from Prince Fielder for an RBI single just out of the reach of a diving Dozier. Then Victor Martinez hit a little pop fly in right-center that center fielder Aaron Hicks came within inches of making a spectacular diving catch. That scored a second run.
The Tigers then tied the game on a line-drive double by Jhonny Peralta. The Twins got out of that inning but more bad luck came in the eighth.
Infante led off the eighth with a ground ball that found a hole between third baseman Jamey Carroll and Escobar. After a sacrifice bunt by Hunter and the inevitable intentional walk to Cabrera, Fielder hit a soft line drive up the middle.
The ball looked like it might be turned into an inning-ending double play. But, of course, pitcher Jared Burton got the tip of his glove on it and deflected it past Dozier for a tie-breaking hit.
There's no way to know for sure that the Twins would have gotten a double play or even one out on the play if Burton hadn't deflected it. However, the deflection just made sure that the Tigers would take the lead.
None of these plays in and of themselves were all that unusual. You see them all the time in baseball games. However, the abundance of bad luck going against the Twins in such a short time was just sheer craziness.
Tigers Beat the Odds to Extend Minnesota Twins' Losing Streak to Nine Games
If you eliminate any foulouts and strikeouts, then from after the second out of the bottom of the fifth inning until the Tigers took the lead in the eighth, their batters went 10-for-11 on balls they put in play. That is insanely good luck.
That the Twins were so desperate for a win to end the long losing streak made it all the more maddening.
Now the Twins will be counting on two call-ups from the minor leagues to cool off the bats of the Tigers. Samuel Deduno will go in Friday's game and P.J. Walters will reportedly start Saturday's game. Both are retreads from last year's 96-loss disaster.
They need both to go deep into the games if they are going to end this streak in Detroit. Thursday was the second time in three days the Twins used most of their best relievers in a loss.
They're also going to need better luck. Sabermetric circles continually talk about "regressing to the mean" when seemingly random events in baseball happen more often than they are expected to. Well, the Twins, and the Tigers for that matter, have a lot of regressing to do after Thursday's game.
Darin McGilvra has been a professional sportswriter since 1997 and has been a Twins follower since Kirby Puckett's breakout season of 1986. He has been published in The Californian, a newspaper covering Riverside County, and numerous other websites.
Follow Darin on Twitter at @SoCalTwinsfan.More from this author:
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