Thursday, July 27, 2017

It is never time to panic

Last Friday I went with my wife to gathering of her family, and we were listening to the Twins radio broadcast on our way back to Mankato. Tom Kelly expounded during a booth visit on how the Twins were still hanging around the division lead, just as the 1987 team did, and said something like: The team that goes 8-2 first can take control of this race.

The Kansas City Royals last night won their eighth in a row. The Cleveland Indians won their sixth in a row. Neither has lost since TK made that prediction six days ago, which makes it tough for either to "take control."

The Twins have won once in those six days. Minnesota on Wednesday got swept by a Dodgers team that is now an astounding 71-31. The Twins led two of those three games late, but Taylor Rogers and Brandon Kintzler, their best relievers, couldn't hold the leads.

The 12 games coming out of the All-Star break figured to be a difficult run for the Twins. Three games at Houston; the Astros have the best record in the American League. Three games against the Yankees, and we all know how poorly the Twins have fared against them over the past 15 years or so. And after three games with the Tigers, a trip to the West Coast that started with the Dodgers juggernaut.

I would have been content with 6-6 in that stretch. They went 4-8, and it came as the Indians and Royals got hot. So this morning the Twins are 5.5 games out of first in the AL Central and 4 out of the wild card. Neither Cleveland nor Kansas City have taken command of the division, but the Twins, as the pythagorean theorum suggested would happen, have definitely faded.

The schedule gets a little easier now, with visits to Oakland and San Diego sandwitched around the trading deadline. But the damage to their playoff ambitions has been done.

I wouldn't expect, or want, the Twins to react by shoveling their best prospects into trade packages in search of immediate help. Nor do I want them to react with a fire sale. The Twins are opening their window of contention. It's not impossible for them to bounce back this year, but the outlook for 2018 and beyond is certainly better. Panic -- irrational behavior under stress -- is never useful. Patience and measured reaction is.

1 comment:

  1. JMHO... But the Twins have an opportunity to open that window faster and for a longer time if they deal away assets like Santana, Garcia and Kintzler. Santana's value will never be higher than it is right now. Garcia won't be back next season, and Kintzler will be quite expensive, so getting quality prospects for these guys is imperative.