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Reflection Provides Solace for 2019 Minnesota Twins

I’m sitting here at my desk trying to figure out how to wrap it all up. 162 games culminated in a three-game sweep at the hands of a team the Minnesota Twins haven’t beaten in October for nearly two decades. One of the greatest seasons in organization history is over, and we’re left with four months of winter to think about how we recharge. Having been in a fog for most of the morning, maybe these are the symptoms of a letdown, or maybe this is why baseball is beautiful and the stories it gives us are remembered forever.
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Rocco Baldelli took over a Twins team that had little direction, and even less certainty. Moving on from Paul Molitor and creating an infrastructure geared towards sustainable progression the Minnesota front office had set forth to blaze a new trail. Not only were we treated to a record-breaking performance, but it was done with a core that remains intact and reinforcements soon to follow.

For much of the last offseason we heard about a timid approach reliant on the emergence of Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. Both had strong 2019 campaigns (for Buxton, while he was on the field), but it was the unexpected development of players like Luis Arraez and Zack Littell that defined the growth we saw on the field. Process and practice have fostered a team that will allow the expected to rise, but the unexpected to also seize opportunity.

2019 was significantly more than a record -etting home run total, a win total mirroring that of the mid-1960’s, or even an American League Central Division title. It was a season that provides a launching point into the future and gives us a glimpse of what is not only possible, but what is yet to come. Although the bar has been raised across much of the record book, the result is now a future more hopeful than it has been since Torii Hunter was chasing down baseballs at the Metrodome.

I’m not here to tell you that losing in the postseason isn’t a bummer, or that dropping a series to the New York Yankees doesn’t stink. Reality hits us in clarifying that only one team ends their season with a victory however, and that being in the final pool for that annual opportunity is a must. Terry Ryan was not able to position the Pohlad’s team for that scenario at the end of his tenure in Twins Territory. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have hit nearly as many bombas as their on-field product, and now should begin a stretch of yearly October baseball.

There will be time to discuss the size of a blank check Gerrit Cole may eventually turn down, and whether Nelson Cruz repeats his 2019 performance as a 40-year-old. There can be a moment of frustration hurled at the Yankees, and unfortunate history can even receive its run. Looking back, and beyond the final three games, it’s hard to be anything but excitedly hopeful for what is yet to come.

The Minnesota Twins didn’t provide us with a “there’s always next year” type of theme in their exit. Instead we are faced with a “look out” and “we’ll be back.” It won’t be uncommon to see the team that calls Target Field home assumed as the division favorite next March, and they’ll get another shot at rolling the dice in October.

A sport that celebrates failure occurring only 70% of the time is quite a difficult beast, and humility can often be dished out in small sample sizes., but this was a season of excitement for what is yet to come. To Derek, Thad, Rocco, and the 50 guys that put that Twins script across their chest this season, thank you for months of enjoyment. Soak up the well-deserved rest, and we’ll all still be waiting for the next October opportunity to get unhinged in downtown Minneapolis. We all know it won’t be long.

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19 Comments

I would think that Cleveland will still be the favorite in the division by a hair next year. The Twins will be second choice with the White Sox third. Lots depends on what the roster will look like come April and I suspect there will be 5-7 new players. After all the talk of prospects, Arraez comes almost out of nowhere as does Littell. In the post season, We simply did not hit and getting bases loaded with no outs and not scoring in Game 3 was the story of the series. Then the Yankees score with 2 outs and we're cooked. Thankfully our division is weak at this point but we need better pitching (or at least healthy pitching) and to stay away from the Yankees to go further.

    • Longdistancetwins likes this

Every DS has gone 5 except one. At least by end of tomorrow night 3 more teams will be in the same boat as the Twins after losing their final game. I guess that is solace other than fans who had tickets to game 4 in Minneapolis will get their money back. Or will they?

 

I still think that the sweep by the Yankees will be a burden for the Twins in 2020. 162 games is a long road to travel just to get back to where they were last Friday and have it all go up in a cloud of smoke.

 

    • Longdistancetwins likes this

 

 I guess that is solace other than fans who had tickets to game 4 in Minneapolis will get their money back. Or will they?

Yes, tickets for unplayed postseason games will be refunded. See here:

 

https://www.mlb.com/...stseason games.

 

It's a fair question, though -- I've heard of teams only giving refunds in the form of credit on season tickets the following year (NFL?).

 

Reality hits us in clarifying that only one team ends their season with a victory however

Not true -- 11 teams ended their season with a victory already. :)

 

I guess among playoff teams, only 1 will end with a victory, but how many will end with 3 straight (one-sided) postseason losses?

    • TiberTwins likes this
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Ted Schwerzler
Oct 09 2019 11:54 AM

 

Not true -- 11 teams ended their season with a victory already. :)

 

I guess among playoff teams, only 1 will end with a victory, but how many will end with 3 straight (one-sided) postseason losses?

Realistically, what is the difference between whoever loses these three game fives and the Twins exit? Because they made it a bit longer, the series was more entertaining, or the sample size was more closely contested doesn't suggest that those teams are any better or worse.

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Battle ur tail off
Oct 09 2019 12:09 PM

 

Realistically, what is the difference between whoever loses these three game fives and the Twins exit? Because they made it a bit longer, the series was more entertaining, or the sample size was more closely contested doesn't suggest that those teams are any better or worse.

 

It does however suggest that those other teams were more equipped to handle postseason baseball. And that they didn't piss their pants just by looking over to the opposing team's dugout. 

    • USAFChief, Jerr and Danchat like this

 

Realistically, what is the difference between whoever loses these three game fives and the Twins exit? Because they made it a bit longer, the series was more entertaining, or the sample size was more closely contested doesn't suggest that those teams are any better or worse.

I guess in a long view, no, an absolute measure of the 2019 Twins talent doesn't really change between an uncompetitive sweep and any other series-losing outcome.

 

But by that logic, a series win or even a World Series run might not have changed it either. The playoffs aren't about long-term absolute measures.

 

If you don't think a single Twins win would have mattered this postseason, you either have to be oblivious to a lot of real-world context or you just don't care about the playoffs.

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Ted Schwerzler
Oct 09 2019 01:50 PM

 

It does however suggest that those other teams were more equipped to handle postseason baseball. And that they didn't piss their pants just by looking over to the opposing team's dugout. 

Yeah, I don't agree with that at all. Extrapolating a 3 game sample size to draw vast conclusions like that is pretty hollow.

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Ted Schwerzler
Oct 09 2019 01:51 PM

 

If you don't think a single Twins win would have mattered this postseason, you either have to be oblivious to a lot of real-world context or you just don't care about the playoffs.

I don't subscribe to the idea that a win, or longer series wouldn't have been beneficial. I do believe that just about anything but a really deep run can only be analyzed within a minute context of what took place over a few days.

 

To correlate Postseason performance as a parallel to regular season performance doesn't do much for me.

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KirbyDome89
Oct 09 2019 02:31 PM

Except there isn't a guarantee they'll be back next year.

 

We assume the good will get better while the bad will be improved upon, but that just isn't likely. How many guys had breakout seasons this year? Are we expecting them all to avoid regression and build on 19'? Does Cruz continue to defy age and stay healthy/productive? Does Buxton stay on the field this year? Does Berrios finish strong? Ect, ect, ect...

 

They need 4 starting pitchers; does this franchise decided to spend $$ and prospects to fill out the rotation despite serious aversion to both avenues? They're going to need bullpen help too. MN can hide or shuffle guys through a 13 man pen in the regular season but we saw what happened to the "elite," bullpen when lesser arms were forced to get outs against a playoff lineup. 

 

Outside of addressing internal issues the Twins also have to contend with divisional teams. Detroit and KC will almost certainly be terrible again, but if the Sox decide to be even a .500 team, it makes the path to the postseason already more difficult than this year. Then there's Cleveland. Are we banking on them being without 3/5 of their starting rotation for nearly the entire year again? Do we hope that Lindor and Ramirez miss a month+ each? For as injury ravaged as some moaned the Twins were, the Indians had it worse, and still almost took the division. 

 

The Twins had a lot go their way in 19'. IMO it would be irresponsible to set that as the starting point from where they go this offseason. The hard part is done, i.e. they've got the structure to build around, at least position player wise. It's a question of whether they'll commit to putting together a serious contender, and how honest they'll be about areas of deficiency at this point.  

    • wavedog and Longdistancetwins like this

 

I don't subscribe to the idea that a win, or longer series wouldn't have been beneficial. I do believe that just about anything but a really deep run can only be analyzed within a minute context of what took place over a few days.

 

To correlate Postseason performance as a parallel to regular season performance doesn't do much for me.

I'm not sure players would entirely agree? I mean, they play postseason games for a reason, and they're pretty important.

 

Postseason failure doesn't completely invalidate regular season success, of course, but back to my original point, there are different levels of postseason failure, and the Twins hit just about the worst one this year. Which probably makes a bigger dent than whatever the remaining teams to be eliminated will experience.

    • Battle ur tail off likes this

From all appearances, if the Twins had managed to get into the ALCS,and even World Series, they may have had to play home games further south. looks like snow and more snow and an early winter. Now they have time to get a roof on Target for when the twins get serious. That is solace.

I don't subscribe to the idea that a win, or longer series wouldn't have been beneficial. I do believe that just about anything but a really deep run can only be analyzed within a minute context of what took place over a few days.

To correlate Postseason performance as a parallel to regular season performance doesn't do much for me.

Fair enough. But I disagree strongly.

Dismissing post season failure as somehow unimportant compared to regular season success doesnt do much for me.

The point of a MLB season is to win the WS.
    • Blake, Jerr, Danchat and 2 others like this

 

I guess in a long view, no, an absolute measure of the 2019 Twins talent doesn't really change between an uncompetitive sweep and any other series-losing outcome.

 

But by that logic, a series win or even a World Series run might not have changed it either. The playoffs aren't about long-term absolute measures.

 

If you don't think a single Twins win would have mattered this postseason, you either have to be oblivious to a lot of real-world context or you just don't care about the playoffs.

Really? Mixing one win around the three losses we saw would have made a difference? I think I'd make a large wager that, while that might be the case for fans, the players/team wouldn't have looked at it that way. I certainly hope they wouldn't have looked at it that way.

 

A series win would have been great, next a truly competitive series loss...but they'll have to settle for that late series in Cleveland for the division as their inspiration. There's always something to build on...it's the execution part that's hard :)

 

Could argue that the utter failure makes it more, not less, likely that aggressive moves are made to get the club to a championship level. OK, that's ridiculous. I'm just up here trying.

I'm thinking there are two takes on the season...

 

One, the Twins were a great team...about as good as any team in the league...and choked horribly in the playoffs.

 

Two, the Twins were a good, not great, team...who's statistics/numbers were inflated due to the schedule...and went limping into the playoffs against a superior opponent

 

Scenario One, you chalk it up to inexperience; you try to put another version of the 2019 pitching staff together, and you have another run at it.

 

Scenario Two, you are forced to at least consider big hairy moves.

 

To, me..even if you believe what happened is scenario One, you hope the FO believes it was Two.

I've been very busy lately so haven't commented a lot over the final 3 games or since. That may change now, lol.

I am as disappointed a d frustrated as any of us for things ended. Can't say for sure if I would feel better had we won a game, or two. Losing is still losing. Not winning the ultimate prize is still, again, losing. But in all my years watching my beloved Twins, Huskers and Vikings, (shudder on the Vikings), I have witnessed 5 championships. And each one was GLORIOUS!

But I love and follow my teams each and every season for the entertainment and joy each one gives me. Even in the not so great years. We're I to base my entertainment and joy value strictly on winning it all, I'd be pretty damn disappointed and miserable.

While the series with the Yankees was painful and frustrating, I had an absolute BLAST in 2019 from day one! I had a BLAST on my own, sharing the season with my father, and here on Twins Daily with everyone involved. And nothing, including the way it ended, will rob me of that joy.
    • Blake likes this
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Battle ur tail off
Oct 10 2019 08:56 AM

 

I don't subscribe to the idea that a win, or longer series wouldn't have been beneficial. I do believe that just about anything but a really deep run can only be analyzed within a minute context of what took place over a few days.

 

To correlate Postseason performance as a parallel to regular season performance doesn't do much for me.

 

The game isn't played on paper. It's not run on a computer either and things like emotion, want, confidence are real things. Both for players and fans.

 

Had they been competitive, there would be some momentum going towards next season. As it sits, you have a fanbase that doesn't believe and feels it's more of the same. I'm guessing many players feel this way as well. 

 

I can see your point, but I don't agree with it. 16 losses in a row. That means something, whether you want to admit it or not. 

 

    • Jerr likes this

0-16

I would think that Cleveland will still be the favorite in the division by a hair next year. The Twins will be second choice with the White Sox third. Lots depends on what the roster will look like come April and I suspect there will be 5-7 new players. After all the talk of prospects, Arraez comes almost out of nowhere as does Littell. In the post season, We simply did not hit and getting bases loaded with no outs and not scoring in Game 3 was the story of the series. Then the Yankees score with 2 outs and we're cooked. Thankfully our division is weak at this point but we need better pitching (or at least healthy pitching) and to stay away from the Yankees to go further.

can you expand on why Cleveland would be favored over the Twins? I would be shocked if they didn’t rebuild.

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