The Twins could, reasonably and mathematically, be back in contention by the All Star Break.


It seems absurd, at first glance, to suggest that the twins who died in the water a month ago could be a contender. Everyone, even the most die-hard fans, even yours, had written them off this season. And yet, here we are. It’s June twenty-six, and like Brett at South side Sox reminded me several times today, the Twins are 11.5 games behind and hold a share of third place at AL Central. These are not normally circumstances in which you might suggest that a team will overtake first place, but these are not ordinary circumstances.

First of all, the Twins of a month or even two weeks ago are not the Twins you see today. In fact, the opening day’s “starting nines” have rarely played together, and although the Twins are not yet complete, they see a number of important players – led by Luis Arraez and Max Kepler – return. from the injured list. At the same time, guys like Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Nick Gordon took their cues from MLB and started spending time together as a team. The results of this change have been pretty obvious on the scoreboard, as the Twins have won seven of their last ten games, including a decisive victory over Cleveland earlier today.

The Twins’ next fourteen matches are all against enemies of AL Central, allowing them to gain a lot of ground quickly. More importantly, half of those games are against Chicago, which currently leads the division, and these games couldn’t have come at a better time.

For as hot as the Twins have been lately, the Sox have been cold. Freezing cold. The Sox have won just three of their last seven games, including dropping their most recent streak. I asked Brett, who is one of the few fans of the Sox that I love or even tolerate, what’s going on, and basically they suffered the same fate as the Twins in the first two months of the season – most of their regulars are injured, and the rest are underachieving. As anyone who’s paid attention to the 2021 Twins (and I don’t blame you if you haven’t) knows, this is a recipe for no good stuff.

Chicago’s injured list includes Adam Engel, Billy Hamilton, Adam Eaton, Eloy Jimenez (RIP), Nick Madrigal, Luis Robert and pitchers Michael Kopech and Jace Fry. Jose Abreu also treats an injury on a daily basis. You could summarize this list as “Chicago’s future,” because all of the players we’ve been told will make a difference seem to be indefinitely absent. There are like six lone outfielders on this list – a very recognizable level of frustration for Twins fans.

Most of these guys aren’t expected to be back anytime soon, leaving the door ajar for the Twins in the next couple of weeks. With a four-player kickoff in Chicago tomorrow, three in Kansas City, then three home games against Chicago and four with Detroit to follow, the Twins’ needs are simple: win more than you lose and hope the Sox. will do the opposite. If the Twins can just split the first set and win the other three, that leaves them 9-5 on that stretch and 42-48 overall. It’s by no means a good record, but in a historically bad division it’s a place to be. Two more wins, and that goes to 44-46, while a 13-1 stretch would turn things around on the plus side of 0.500, to 46-44.

Asking Chicago to keep losing might be overkill, as their non-twin opponents are the Tigers and Orioles, for three games apiece. If the Twins were to take four of seven from the Sox, and Detroit and Baltimore each win a game, that leaves Chicago 52-38 and leaves the Twins in a difficult position. A little help starts to make things easier, but the Twins gain the most ground helping each other – if the Twins win all seven games against the Sox and Baltimore and Detroit can each win one, then Chicago has A 49-41 record, The Twins would be 45-45 if they won the rest of their streak.

AL Central is not a good division at the moment. The White Sox are leading at .584, and as stated, haven’t won much, and it doesn’t look good for them to turn the tide in the short term. The only other team above .500 is Cleveland, which has also been badly bitten by the injury bug, and has just lost a series to the Twins. Detroit and Kansas City are just as bad as the Twins, but have far less reason to be hopeful.

The Twins, barring an absolute miracle, won’t be number one in the All Star Break (if they win every game and the Sox lose every game by then, Chicago would be 45-45 while Minnesota is 47. -43.) With three struggling division opponents on the calendar, the Twins could gain a big chunk of ground and be back in the thick of a division race. The White Sox have been brawling lately, and now is the time to take advantage.

On the other hand, if the Twins aren’t taking full advantage of this stretch it’s time to put it away, it’s now or never.

Survey

Has hope returned?

  • 0%
    Yes! The Twins are tied to the playoffs!

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  • 50%
    Yes, but the Twins are going to crush him again, because Minnesota Sports

    (1 voice)

  • 50%
    No, and I can’t be hurt this way

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