Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sixteen games to decide the course of the season

If the Twins can sweep Ozzie Guillen's White Sox in
their four-game series starting tonight, Minnesota will
go into the All-Star break in third place. Anything less, fourth.
The Twins this morning stand nine games below .500. They have the fifth worst record in the 14-team American League and are eight games out of first place in the AL Central.

Yet, considering their history of late-season improvement, their record of dominance in head-to-head play in the division, and the fact that they lead the majors in wins since June 1, they are hardly out of the running.

Not out of it, but not truly in it, at least right now.

That, plus the creeping proximity of the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of the month, makes this stretch of the schedule so crucial.

Sixteen games in 18 days (including the All-Star break and a make-up doubleheader), all against division opponents, the bulk of them in the suddenly Twins-friendly environment of Target Field.

Contenders or pretenders? We'll have a decision by the end of these 16 games. Merely breaking even won't be enough for this team, not with the hole they dug for themselves in April and May. Even 10-6 seems inadequate in this context. I'm looking for something along the lines of 12-4.

That's a high standard, but it's the result of their poor play in the first two months. If they're still fourth after these 16 games, if they still trail the leader by their current eight games, the front office should be in sell mode at months end.


  1. This isn't relevant but the Rochester Red Wings just threw the first combined no-hitter in team history last night!|head

  2. I agree- they can't go 8-8 and consider themselves "in" the race. 10-6 might be good enough, but it depends where they get the 10 wins from. If they sweep KC and go 2-2 against Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago, it probably doesn't change much. A 12-4 (and probably an 11-5) mark is probably good enough to think they can make a run.