Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ya know Twins, you're making it really hard to hold out hope for you guys.

Three days ago, the Twins were 5.5 games out of first with 32 games to go and a chance to get at Cleveland directly. Best case scenario was that they could get within 2.5. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Much like the Detroit series in July, the Twins got swept while coming close much of the time. Back then, the Twins lost all three to Detroit by one run. This week against Cleveland, the last two were one-run affairs. Those hurt, especially at this stage in the game.

Now they're 8.5 games out with 29 games to go. That's quite a daunting task. Especially when you can't beat the team in front of you. But alas, like many others, I'm beginning to give up hope for this season.

I know, I know, just last week I was pushing off the naysaying and trying to restore hope for this team. But after this last week, it's clear that the Twins do have a lot of work ahead of them in the next few months.

What bothers me most about the Cleveland series was that the problem was less of the offense, and more of the pitching. In the beginning of August, the Twins scored 6 runs in a four games series and they were still able to split the series 2-2. This time they score 11 runs, and 0 wins. Not even the mighty Santana could hold the Indians back. In fact, he went 0-4 against them this season.

So, do I throw in the towel yet? Well, nothing's over until the math confirms it. So yes, they still have a chance, but hope is certainly running short.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Blah! Naysayers

I read an article on talking about the Central Divisions for each League. Of course they mention the Tigers and Indians. On the NL they even mention of the Cubs and Brewers, AND the Cardinals. But no mention of the Twins? Even Fox sports power rankings count the Twins out of it at six games out of first.

What's funny about this is that the Twins are as close to first NOW as they were at this time last year. And we remember what happened last year right?

Maybe I'm a little overly optimistic (okay, I'm a LOT overly optimistic), but the Twins still do have a shot. After the Orioles series, the Twins play 25 of their last 32 games against the Central Division. If ever there was a time to put destiny in their own hands, this is it.

Okay, the offense has been horrid since the All-Star Break. But slumps do come to and end, and Morneau's due to have a hot streak. Anything can happen, and with this pitching staff, the Twins are certainly in good position to make a run for it.

Naysayers can talk and talk, but I still have hope. I know the probability is low (and I'm an actuary now). But these Twins aren't done yet. I can feel it. I think they could surprise a lot of people. In fact, I hope they do!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In or Out

I keep going back and forth on whether I think the Twins still have a shot this year. Every time they win, I have hope again. Every time they lose, it gets shattered. But I looked up something today that gave me more hope. Right now, they are 6.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians for the Central Division lead. Last year at this time, they were 7 games behind Detroit. That's right. They are closer to the lead this year than they were last year.

They would finish 23-14 and overcome the Detroit Tigers. This year, they'd have to go 24-12 just to get to 87 wins. But really, at this point, the number of wins is irrelevant, it's the games behind. The other thing to consider (to land back in realityville) is that the Twins are NOT the team they were last year. Last year they were a juggernaut, a winning team with a winning spirit that could not be stopped. A freight train that started full speed in June and didn't stop until they hit a brick wall in Oakland in October. This year, I just don't see that team. But I don't think they're gone completely, I think they're just asleep.

Morneau's been in a monster slump lately, and one has to wonder that if his bat woke up, what could this team do. This team already has a great pitching staff, one that's 4th in the AL (10th overall). Unfortunately, they're run production is 2nd to last in the AL (ahead of the White Sox) and 23rd in the majors. This is a team that had last year's MVP and batting champ, and yet the offense is this bad? Well, that's because the other 7 are in question.

I'm not quite ready to give up on the Twins just yet. Maybe that's because they won yesterday. I had a dream last night that they won the divisional series, and it brought back memories of 2002 when they got past Oakland. I think after last year's playoffs, I'm more hopeful that the Twins can do something in the playoffs considering the Cardinals won after going 83-78 on the season.

This is the week to do it. They have 9 games left in August. Four against Baltimore, Three against Cleveland, and then 2 against Kansas City heading to October. They have to take 3 in Baltimore. This is a team they have to beat to make it to the playoffs. And then the Cleveland games are a chance to take destiny in your own hands. Something the Twins did well last year, winning against Detroit down the stretch (and the Sox). Looking further ahead, in September they have 5 with KC, 6 with the Sox, 6 with the Tigers, and 3 more with the Indians. To round it out they have 3 with Texas and they finish in Boston for four. From this point on, it's all teams either in the basement, or ahead of you in the division. Except for Boston. By then, hopefully they'll have clinched the East and they'll be avoiding the big arms to get ready for the Divisional Series.

I have hope. The Twins are closer now than they were last year. Morneau's bound to break out of the slump eventually. The teams are getting easier. And hey, anything can happen. The Rangers just scored 30 runs. Why can't the Twins win 30 games? All they have to do is battle their tails off!