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Season full of brooms for Twins

By Mark Bodenrader, MLB Contributing Editor

Twins team report

(Sports Network) - Many things were expected of the defending AL Central champions in 2003, but so far the Minnesota Twins are off to a sluggish start.

All of Minnesota's four series this season have resulted in sweeps, leading to a .500 mark for the Twins (6-6).

Minnesota started the season with an easy three-game sweep of Detroit, outscoring the Tigers 14-2 during the set. However, the Twins were then blanked in consecutive three-game series by Toronto and the New York Yankees, scoring just 10 runs over the six-game span.

In its most recent set, Minnesota returned the favor to the Blue Jays, sweeping Toronto in three contests at SkyDome. The Twins' offense finally came alive, totaling 24 runs in the series.

"We did what we had to do here," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We came in and played some good baseball here. We're starting to get some hitting. The guys are beating the ball around a little bit."

Doug Mientkiewicz and Luis Rivas each collected six hits in the set and Cristian Guzman and Jacque Jones added five apiece. Corey Koskie drove in five runs against the Blue Jays and Mientkiewicz knocked in four.

The usually-superb starting pitching has been inconsistent for the Twins so far. In Minnesota's last outing, Joe Mays posted a win after getting hammered in his previous start. The righthander improved to 2-1 on the year, but is carrying a 6.19 ERA.

Despite a 1-1 record, Kyle Lohse has been the strongest of the Minnesota starters so far, posting a 1.20 ERA. His lone loss came in a 2-1 setback to the New York Yankees last Wednesday.

Brad Radke is also 1-1 on the year, but has an ERA of 6.32. Rick Reed is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA for the Twins.


There has been no letdown for Jones following his stellar 2002 season. The leftfielder is batting .364 through 11 games and leads the team in hits (16), runs scored (10) and slugging percentage (.545).

"Well, I think he's just grown and matured as a player," Gardenhire said of Jones. "He's a free swinger. He's going to swing. He's going to look ugly at times, but he's just getting better and better and more comfortable with his own abilities. I think he understands a little bit more about what he can and can't do. He's making adjustments to help himself."


Torii Hunter is off to a dreadful start for the Twins. The centerfielder has just five hits in 43 at-bats for a .116 average and still is without a home run. Sadly, he leads the Twins with his eight RBI.


The Twins have a prime opportunity to sweep another series, as they welcome the 1-10 Tigers to the Metrodome for a three-game set Tuesday. The following series sees the Yankees come to town for a four-game tussle.

04/15 16:23:17 ET

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