'Always a silver lining:' Twins staying positive

April 12th, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- After falling to 0-7 with their 4-1 loss to the White Sox in the Target Field opener on Monday, the Twins were saying all the right things -- they're not worried about the slow start, no one is panicking, and that once they stop pressing, everything will be fine.

But they have an uphill battle to climb to reach their goal of making the postseason for the first time since 2010. No team in Major League history has started out with seven straight losses and made the playoffs, per baseball-reference.com. In fact, of the 38 teams to open 0-7, only two teams, the 1983 Astros (85-77) and the 1980 Braves (81-80), were able to bounce back and finish with a winning record.

Manager Paul Molitor, however, was reminded after the game that the 1991 World Series-winning Twins started out 2-9, only to finish with 95 wins. And with an expanded postseason with two Wild Card teams in each league, the stat on no team making the postseason after going 0-7 can be a bit misleading.

"There's always a silver lining," Molitor said. "There's a lot of disappointment and there's frustration, but I don't think anybody is that downtrodden or conceding anything at this point. There's been seven games and we haven't won one yet. We're trying to find some positive things."

Molitor admitted there weren't many positives on Monday, as right-hander Kyle Gibson lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs, with two of those unearned after an error from shortstop Eduardo Escobar. Minnesota went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, and is 3-for-44 in those situations so far this season.

"I think the further you get into the season without a win, the more you're going to press," Gibson said. "But we're still confident. We're having a tough stretch, but we're going to have those during the season. A seven-game losing streak in the middle of June or one now is the same. But it's not any fun."

It's a similar situation to last year, when the Twins went 1-6 to open the season, and Gibson said the key was to relax after their slow start.

"I think it was just staying loose and not giving into everybody's opinion saying it was the same old, same old," Gibson said. "We got a pretty good ballclub in here. We're going to score some runs, we're going to throw the ball well. We're just in a funk. We're not too worried."

One difference from last year is the absence of veteran Torii Hunter, who was able to help keep things in perspective. But this year, it's more of a group effort to help lead the team, with Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe and Kurt Suzuki telling their younger teammates not to panic this early.

"We're not happy with where we're at," Plouffe said. "We're pressing a little bit, and that's obvious. With runners in scoring position, we're trying to do way too much. But that's going to happen with a young team like this. So it's up to me, Dozier, Joe and Kurt to calm everybody down."