The Minnesota Twins have started to play better baseball over the past week and it has led to a renewed optimism amongst the players and fans. A lot of the Twins’ brilliance can be directly correlated with the competition they have been facing—or the lack of competition they have been facing—but some credit must also go to the improved performance in all facets of the Twins’ game. Sunday’s game against the Seattle Mariners was the latest in the string of strong performances by the Twins, as it was a complete team effort that saw the offense remain hot and the pitching display dominance which resulted in a 10-0 thumping.
The Twins are now within four games of .500 at 25-29, which is quite the accomplishment considering they are a little more than a week removed from a 10-game losing streak that almost led many of the Twins’ faithful to “cash it in” for the season. The Twins now will enter a pivotal stretch of games against division opponents and National League opponents that will test whether or not this recent surge is a trend or a mirage. Games against Kansas City, Washington, Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago await the Twins and if they can remain competitive in each of these series—while hopefully winning two out of three games in each—then we can start legitimately talking about the Twins “showing signs of turning it around” and if we can consider them “playoff contenders”.
Too often, as fans, we get too caught up in the moment and we fail to look at the big picture when things are going good or things are going bad. Right now, things are going well for the Twins and it’s important to emphasize how much improvement we have made and why things can continue to get better; however, it is equally as likely for people to get down and overreact when things are going bad so let’s make sure not to overreact to the recent winning streak.
With the Twins right now, it’s easy to get caught up in the optimism, but I caution you to wait. These next five series will be a better barometer to what type of team we are truly dealing with. If the Twins post a near .500 record over this time frame, I think this team is likely to remain at—or just below—.500 for the remainder of the season baring some unforeseen streak of luck. If the Twins can somehow find a way to win the majority of these games, I think it’s fair to say that we have a team that can legitimately contend for a spot in the playoffs even if the chances aren’t that great; however, a lot can change in a matter of weeks so just because they play like a team now that could contend, doesn’t mean they will play the same way a month from now.
The bottom line is this: if the starting pitching can continue to pitch well, this team—or any team for that matter—will have a great chance to contend. The Twins have the lineup to support a decent pitching staff and with a strong bullpen waiting at the end of games, a starting rotation is the missing piece to this puzzle.
We are entering the first week of June and two full months of baseball are now officially in the books with four more to go. Think about that: only four months of regular season baseball left. We haven’t even reached the half-way point yet in the season; thus, there is still a lot that can happen. Enjoy the winning now Twins’ fans; but remember, things can change in a hurry!