For the last couple of weeks, the Twins were gleaning a lot of national attention, for their pursuit of a playoff spot, their prolific home run count and the rocky road along the way to the postseason. Still, with the incredible season, the wholesale changes to the roster and organization since 2010, and a triple digit win total, there was incredible optimism.
And then there wasn’t. The Twins started racking up injuries, including dings to Byron Buxton that kept him out through the postseason. Michael Pineda was the best pitcher the team had in the second half, and then he was suspended for the remainder of the year for the use of a drug that is commonly used as a steroid masking agent. The Twins still taped it together and made the playoffs, behind guys like Jake Odorizzi and Rocco Baldelli reminding us that they weren’t here for the 13 game playoff losing streak. They don’t have a monkey on their back!
And then the series with the Yankees happened. The Twins saw their playoff losing streak reach a Major League Baseball record for postseason misery, then they kept losing to get swept out of the playoffs, and set a record across all major sports for consecutive playoff losses. The Twins weren’t competitive, and the playoffs weren’t much fun.
The Twins seem to have done a lot of the right things this year, from an organizational standpoint, and were snakebitten by the misfortune that seems to follow this squad around. There were the incidents above, and then when they reached the playoffs, they really missed trade acquisition Sam Dyson, as nobody in the bullpen was particularly inspiring despite a late season surge, and the offense that had been so good all year suddenly looked inept.
The good news is, and this probably only counts for another year or two, is that this team is young, and will come back hungry next year. Not only are the players young, but so is the coaching staff and the front office. There will be growth, one hopes, and a prerogative to figure out what went wrong and fix it in 2020.