Gone are our days of disappointment… Maybe?
Hello there, friends!
As we nestle into the All-Star break, we have a moment to regroup and focus on the second half of this garbage season. For those of you who have not yet given up on our boys, you were treated to some seriously fun-to-watch (albeit sometimes through a crack in your fingers as you covered your eyes) baseball courtesy of the Twins over the last series against the Tigers. We’ve even managed to win in extra innings! (For some glorious recaps if you missed these games, click here or here).
And I know, I swore I wasn’t going to worry about the record anymore this season and that I was going to focus on anything but wins/losses for the rest of the year. But I lied. I never extinguished that little flame of hope way deep in my heart, and I’m kind of letting that flame grow again. Kind of. Remember at the end of June when our friend TJ told us it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that the Twins could be back in contention by now? Granted, at the time he posted that on June 27, we were 11.5 games out of first… and we are still 11.5 games back after the 13 games since he wrote that. But.. BUT! Out of those 13 games (one game was postponed due to rain vs the White Sox), the Twins managed to play nearly .500 baseball by going 6-7 (.462 if you’re gonna get all mathy on me).
Fine, you could say that they blew their chance at turning it around by losing more than they won during a string of division games. *Disclaimer: I have ADHD and it takes me a bit to get to my point, but we’ve finally arrived at where I’m going* As bad as 6-7 and a .462 run sounds, they went 6-2 in the last 8 of those games. And as a bonus: in that span of games, we dumped Matt Shoemaker, thus letting our team not have a guaranteed loss every 5th game.
Despite the constant barrage of setbacks what with injuries and more injuries and a bullpen that ended up having to rely on Tortuga at times, this. team. won’t. say. die.
The team is at a crossroads right now. To beat a dead horse, with 17 games to play between now and the deadline, the 4th place Twins have a chance to gain some serious ground. Here’s how:
- The Twins go into the next eight games (four against Detroit, four against Chicago) with another 6-2 record (or heck, even playing .500 ball)
- The Twins split or better against the [currently Trout-less, Rendon-less, and Upton-less but maybe probably back to full strength by then] Angels
- The Twins take 2 of 3 against Detroit after the Angels series.
- Twins take at least the first game of the Cardinals series.
- The Clevelandians tank during their very tough stretch of games against Houston, Oakland, and Tampa Bay
- The White Sox (currently with as bad of injury luck as the Twins have been hit with all season) lose a couple/split the series to the Twins, plus lose
both serieses series’sthe series with Houston and the series with Milwaukee
Our only concern at this point would be if the Tigers win more than half of the games against the Twins, and if they clean up against their respective basements dwelling Rangers and Royals.
If all of the stars align the way I listed above, the Twins could end July with a record somewhere in the .500 mark. And depending on the Cleveland and Chicago records during that stretch, The Twins could easily move into 3rd place, and maybe even 2nd if the Clevelandians really start a free fall.
A LOT would have to go right for the Twins, but the prospect of turning into buyers rather than sellers at the end of this month is not that far fetched. There’s a very real chance that Cleveland will crumble against the non AL-Central teams. There’s also a very real chance that the White Sox can’t keep up their winning ways with so many of their guys hitting the IL. The Twins have gone through their growing pains and have adjusted against the strain of injury. Guys that would have probably been September call ups have been starting to play like big leaguers – which will add a ridiculous amount of depth if/when we get Buxton and Garver back, and if Sano can keep his average above .200. And if we manage to get some pitching at the deadline? Holy hell, this will be a contending team!
Gone would be the talks of trading away all of the guys like Cruz or Donaldson or Simmons or Kepler, but rather, we’d start hearing things like giving up some prospects or cash for a strong bullpen arm. And maybe we’d only have to give up just one of the big names to get a number 2 or 3 starter. The 2021 team was built to win, after all, and the potential is there – if. they. stay. healthy. It’s a big if, but it can be done.
So there you have it: The revelation that I’m a big lying liar pants and I never gave up on this team. I tried to not care, but it’s not in me to not care about the Twins. The reality is the Twins will probably go 8-9 and gain almost no ground in those 17-pre-trade-deadline games, while Cleveland sees a run of wins that we didn’t see coming, and the Twins sell half of the team at the deadline, at which point I write about how they broke my heart again. But try as I might, I just can’t kill that part of me that is the eternal optimist. And you, the dear reader, are stuck reading about my hope and shaking your heads at me thinking “when will this dipshit learn?”