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Article: Planning To Fail

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:13 AM
There's a problem with the Twins' plan. The problem is that, by all appearances, they don't really have one.What else are we supposed to...
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Article: Game Thread: Twins @ Indians, 8/29 @ 6:10pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:52 AM
The Twins have lost 10 games in a row and that is really hard to do unless you are trying to lose 10 games in a row. So I guess that leav...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (8/29): Kernels Clinch...

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 11:45 PM
Let’s just forget about the Minnesota Twins for a bit.There’re plenty of happy things to talk about. Though it’s not what we wanted to be...
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What Happened To Our Twinkies?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:44 PM
Lots of things. We refuse to make trades at times that it's extremely appropriate to do so. We love to make trades that are unnecessary....
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Saberseminar 6

Other Baseball Yesterday, 10:22 PM
I was lucky enough to attend Saberseminar 6 at Boston University two weekend ago (Aug 13-14). While none of the presenters addressed Twin...
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Breaking Better

Last year, when the Twins reached the All-Star break, they were 14 games below .500 and 12 games back in the AL Central. In 2012, they had entered the break at 13 games below .500, and 11 games back in the division.

Against that backdrop, their present standing -- 44-50 and 10.5 games behind the first-place Tigers -- looks downright palatable.

The Twins had firmly established their irrelevance by the end of July after crumbling around the break in each of the past two seasons, and a week ago it appeared that they were caught in the exact same downward spiral once again.

Yet they rebounded to win five of their last six games and a soft schedule following the All-Star Game could help the team set itself up much more favorably as it enters the latter portion of this season.

The Twins will open their unofficial second half with a 10-game homestand, in which they'll be facing teams that are all close to them in the W/L column. Two of those teams (Cleveland and Chicago) are just ahead of them in the Central, giving Minnesota a solid opportunity to escape last place.

A good run here isn't going to suddenly put the Twins in position to surge and capture the division, and it probably won't bring them especially close to a wild-card spot, but that was never the realistic mission.

Attached Image: gardenhire.jpg The mission -- and likely the standard by which Ron Gardenhire, his staff and perhaps the front office will be chiefly evaluated -- is improvement.

Here at the break, they have an improved record compared to the past couple years, but that's meaningless. What matters is how they finish.

The complete shut-down in the final months has been a recurring theme over the past three seasons, and a heck of a frustrating one at that. Sure, the late-season losses have helped the Twins accumulate a lot of high draft picks, but ending each year on such a sour note, with few enduring positives to cling to, takes a toll on the fan base.

The Twins are determined to avoid a repeat this year, and that's good to see. They've been more proactive with making moves, and they've been spending money (with varying results). To me, the increased efforts to hasten this stalled out rebuilding process are quite apparent.

While that's all good to see, hopefully the Twins won't let their resolve to stay afloat and finish better cloud their priorities as the trade deadline approaches.

There's really no question that this team needs to be a seller, but playing that role does not equate to waving a white flag.

If the Twins are to shake their post-break demons and finish respectably for a change, it needs to be on the shoulders of players who are either young or under contract long-term. Even if the team can stay hot and approach .500 over the next couple weeks, you'd hope the big picture will remain clear, and that guys like Kurt Suzuki, Josh Willingham and Kevin Correia will still be made available, albeit for meager returns.

Much like the exhibition that took place at Target Field on Sunday, the rest of the Twins' season is about the future. That doesn't mean it isn't about winning, but they need to find success that is driven by players like Josmil Pinto, Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor May, not aging veterans with expiring contracts.

 [/HR]
Need some pizza to munch on while watching Brian Dozier and Justin Morneau compete in tonight's Home Run Derby? Since the Twins closed out their first half with a win on Sunday, you can get half off your L or XL pizza from PapaJohns.com with the promo code 'TWINSWIN'!


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