Baseball is back (but kinda weird), and my Minnesota Twins are off to a very good start. After eleven games, they have a 9-2 record (.818), and they’re the number two team in the American League. (The bad news is that our long-time nemesis, the damn Yankees, are number one.)
It’s going to be a very short season (60 games rather than 162) with an extended postseason — just over half the 30 teams (16, rather than the usual 10) will get at least one postseason game. And, of course, none of it is being played in front of fans.
Just one more aspect of our COVID-19 world.
For the first time since I became a dedicated fan in 2010, my Minnesota Twins are in postseason! They did win a Wildcard spot in 2017, and then lost to the Yankees in the single Wildcard game (damn Yankees). That was after having their worst season in franchise history in 2016. (They lost 103 games and finished last in the MLB.)
But now, as in 2010, they’re going to first official postseason round, the ALDS. And, also as in 2010, they’ll face their arch nemesis, those damned Yankees. Nine years ago the “Bronx Bummers” took us out 1-2-3. Those bummers also took us out of postseason in 2003, 2004, & 2009.
So I’m thinking it’s high time we turn that around!
There has been a lot of talk in the baseball world about the abundance of both home runs and strikeouts. The former seems to come from the “juiced” ball this year as well as increasing effort by players to focus on “hitting it outta the park.”
That effort also appears responsible for the increase in strikeouts — which obviously can’t be blamed on the ball. Some think the increased focus on high-tech stats, the ability to record “launch angle” and “exit velocity” (not to mention distance), is responsible. Players are chasing the “long ball.”
So I thought I’d make some charts and see for myself.
Talk about mixed feelings! It was both very exhilarating — and slightly painful — to watch my Minnesota Twins rout the Seattle Mariners over the last three nights. The Mariners get a chance to get back some of their own this afternoon, and I almost hope they win. Being swept this badly is awful.
How awful? Well, so far: 25 more runs (36 total), 22 more hits (45 total), and 7 more home runs (11 total). The Twins pounded the Mariners’ starters, who only averaged three innings of work each (giving up 20 ER and 9 HR in 10.1 innings), while our own starters averaged six innings (and gave up only 8 ER and 3 HR in 18.1 innings).
Suffice to say the Twins are off to an awesome start this year!
I haven’t written about my Minnesota Twins in a while. Blame it on 2016, the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. On top of a stunning turn in politics, the Twins had their worst year ever as a Minnesota team. (They were the Washington Senators until 1960.)
They did okay in 2017 with a winning season (.525 win record) and the second American League Wildcard. Of course, they lost to, guess who, the damn Yankees. The year also capped a weird three-year over-under-over pattern in terms of their expected performance.
In 2018, the stats look closer to expectations, which is to say sad, but it’s possible 2019 will be much happier.
Speaking of big strike outs, my Minnesota Twins continue to slog along at the bottom of the pack. Things actually got a bit exciting just before the All-Star Game break, but the last week or so suggests the Twins are reverting to the hapless form from the first few months.
The Twins played their 108th game of the season back on August 4th. That’s two-thirds of a season. As of their first third, things were looking uglier than ever in their history. Fortunately, the second third here was significantly better, and July was even kinda awesome.
The batting has definitely improved, but the pitching is just killing us.
If they completely collapsed right now, fans of the Minnesota Twins would still have seen a better season than they have since 2010. If they could somehow continue playing at their current level, they could win 90+ games rather than losing that many as they have every season since then.
If they just win every other game (playing .500 ball), they’ll win 83 games and still end up with a much better record than they’ve seen in four years. They’re currently four games above the .500 mark — something fans haven’t seen since the end of 2010!
Whatever the case, the last few weeks have us jumping for joy!
Minnesota Twins fans have enjoyed a wonderful four-day weekend to begin the merry month of May! After a very rough and disappointing first week, the Twins have been playing increasingly better baseball, and topped it off by sweeping the Chicago White Sox in a four-game home stand.
The icing on the cake was an absolutely gorgeous spring weekend with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. The Thursday and Friday evening games were a little cooler with temps in the mid-60s, but Minnesotans are hardy people. We wear shorts and tee-shirts in 40-degrees!
The question with the Twins these days is: Can this possibly continue?
My Minnesota Twins played their first spring training game last night. It was an exhibition game against the University of Minnesota. And, wouldn’t you know it, those professional experienced baseball players managed to beat the college kids. That hasn’t been the case for some other teams (the Philadelphia Phillies lost to the University of Tampa Bay last Sunday, for example).
In about three hours the Twins begin Spring Training games for real by hosting the Boston Red Sox (who beat two different college teams in a double-header Tuesday).
To celebrate, I thought I’d share my MLB Parks Tour plan.