CLEVELAND -- Sunday's rubber match at Progressive Field is Minnesota's 27th ballgame in a span of 27 days.
During the demanding stretch, which began on July 30, the Twins had an off-day on Aug. 8 but a doubleheader the following day. They entered Sunday's game with a 12-14 record over their previous 26 games.
"Kind of inconsistent" is how manager Ron Gardenhire described his team's performance during the last month or so.
"We've played some better baseball, but still our record has been inconsistent," said Gardenhire. "It seems like we'd run off [stretches] where [we played] four or five really good ballgames. [We] might lose one or two of them. Then, all of a sudden, we'd go flat, it looks like.
"And I don't know if that's because we're in such a grind. Right now, when you're playing this many games in a row and it's August, guys are a little worn out. But every team is in the same boat. Every team is going through the same thing and battling."
Gardenhire's club has won three of its past five games. But at 57-71, the Twins occupy fourth place in the American League Central, and headed into Sunday 18 1/2 games behind division-leading Detroit and 15 games out of the second Wild Card position. Barring something extraordinary, the Twins will finish below .500 for the fourth year in a row.
"Overall, the whole year, we've been inconsistent," Gardenhire said, "and we've been too streaky, and we still do those things."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.