Just when you think the Twins have had it and are destined to drop far and fast out of the race for the AL Central, they somehow find a way to redeem themselves.
The Twins had the perfect opportunity. The Indians were coming to town for a 4 game set beginning with a day night double header on the first day. What better opportunity to take a major strike against the Indians lead for the division? Winning 3 out of 4 would have them just 4 games back, and a sweep would have put them within 3. It also would have moved them in front of the White Sox. It was the opportune moment.
But the moment seemed to come and go with the double header sweep by the Indians. All of a sudden they were back to 7 games out and people once again started talking about dismantling the team. Then, just 2 games later, all of a sudden people are back to wondering if the Twins can pull it off.
Most of the daily reaction to the Twins results and prospects are knee jerk reactions to the day’s game. Until the magic number is 0, the Twins – or any team for that matter – are never officially eliminated.
If you remove the emotion of the game, stop using phrases like “must win” to describe mid-July games, and take a cool look over the remainder of the season, you’ll see that the Twins are still entirely the masters of their own fate.
Here’s the breakdown for you:
The Twins have roughly 10 weeks remaining in the season. They now have 5 games they need to make up. If they make up one game every second week, they find themselves in a tie atop the NL Central.
Of their remaining 64 games, 32 of them will come against the Indians, the Tigers, and the White Sox. Half of their remaining games are against the teams who are in front of them in the standings. Those 32 games also make up almost 20% of the entire season. There is plenty of opportunity for them to gain back some ground.
The front office has already discussed the fact they won’t be selling. They remain steadfast with their lineup and are not entertaining any offers for players like Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer. Couple this with the fact they still have some large pieces on the disabled list, and the Twins might not have a need to buy anybody either.
Although Matt Capps has fallen off, Joe Nathan has returned to the form of the great closer he once was. Scott Baker is currently on the disabled list, as is Kevin Slowey. Jason Kubel, Denard Span, and Justin Morneau are other notables who are missing time right now. Forget a move at the deadline, just getting back some of those players will be a major boost in itself.
The Twins still have a ways to go, and they can only get there by beating the teams they need to. But the good news is there is plenty of opportunity for them to earn their ticket to the Post Season.
Just don’t be counting them out any time soon!