While Twin Cities columnists, and many of the area's sports fans, have called for the Twins to blow up the team and start over, general manager Bill Smith preaches patience.
Though the Twins have the worst record in baseball (12-27) and are 13 1/2 games behind first-place Cleveland in the American League Central after Monday's 5-2 loss at Seattle, Smith believes the Twins can rally.
"Listen, the Twins have been counted out many times before," he said.
Indeed. In late May 2006, the Twins were 12 1/2 games out but won the division on the last day of the season. In 2009, they were seven games out on Sept. 6 before rallying to force a one-game tiebreaker, and they won the Central by beating Detroit in Game No. 163.
So it's not out of the question. On the other hand, the Twins don't have the look of a team that can rally. They have five players on the disabled list, including stars Joe Mauer and Jim Thome, and they are riding a nine-game losing streak.
"These last few weeks have been tough on everybody in the organization, the manager, the players, the front office and the fans," Smith said. "But we've been down many times before. There's no question we need to start winning games down on the field. It's an organization-wide thing; we all have to do better. We need to win on this road trip."
The Twins have two games in Seattle and two in Oakland before starting interleague play with three this weekend at Arizona, the worst team in the National League. Minnesota already is off to its worst start since 1995.
"It's been a tough stretch, but we have to keep banging away," Smith said. "We haven't quit. The players are playing hard, but we're not making our own breaks. We're not playing well. We're walking too many batters, not getting big hits, not playing good defense; these are things that have been staples of the organization."
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