Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

GAME THREAD 8/9/2020: Minnesota Twins @ Kansas City Royal...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:34 PM
Is it time to panic yet?   Of course not! Honestly, after the last three games, I am just as confident in this team being a contende...
Full topic ›

2020 Twins Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:16 PM
There haven't been many yet, but I'll start this today...   The Twins just announced that Zack Littell (hamstring) has been placed o...
Full topic ›

Where are they now? Ex-Twins in 2020

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:16 PM
I said in the 2019 thread that I would start this forum thread...    Let's start populating it. How many former Twins are on ro...
Full topic ›

Option C(astellanos)

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 02:33 PM
We missed out on our big money aces. A big impact 3B will either cost age/money (Donaldson) or top prospects and money (Arenado/Bryant)....
Full topic ›

Future Roster Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:41 AM
Jake Odorizzi gets activated today to face the Royals, filling out the 28-man active roster which will include 16 (!) pitchers. The way t...
Full topic ›

The 3 Scariest Stretches on the 2020 Twins Schedule

In a 60-game season, where each game essentially counts as a series, slumps will be devastating. While the Twins have the softest schedule in baseball, there are still a few spots that loom as potential traps.
Image courtesy of Minnesota Twins on Twitter
As I size up the coming two-month sprint through the AL and NL Central divisions, three particular stretches stand out to me as challenges that could make a very good Twins team sweat.

July 24th through August 2nd
  • 3 games @ CWS
  • 2 games vs. STL
  • 4 games vs. CLE

Right out of the gates, the Twins will feel some heat. I happen to believe the White Sox will be a sneaky riser in the shortened format, and would bet on them winning more games than Cleveland. Minnesota opens in Chicago, then comes home to face the defending NL Central champion Cardinals, followed by a Cleveland team that's plenty formidable. Four games. Huge spot.

A slow start in this shortened format will put a team behind the eight-ball, creating immediate stressful pressure. If the Twins go 3-6 in this opening stretch, they'll be digging themselves a fairly deep hole, especially since some of the losses are coming against their primary division rivals.

August 18th through 26th
  • 3 games vs. MIL
  • 3 games @ KC
  • 3 games @ CLE

The Brewers reached the postseason as a wild-card last year, led by one of baseball's best players in Christian Yelich. Milwaukee is at least the third-best opponent on the Twins' schedule, and this will be their second meeting between the two in a week. Following is a trip to Kaufmann, where wins cannot be taken for granted. (Minnesota's 2019 regular season ended with a walk-off loss in Kansas City.) Then it's off to Cleveland, for the only road series of the year against the Indians.

September 8th through 20th
  • 2 games @ STL
  • 3 games vs. CLE
  • 4 games @ CWS
  • 3 games @ CHC

This right here. This is the gauntlet. Here in September, the Twins make their first trips to Busch Stadium and Wrigley, and by now the big-market home teams will be very comfortable in their own digs. (As much as can be expected, anyway.) This stretch also includes Minnesota's final head-to-head chance against Cleveland, and another trip to Guaranteed Rate, where young talent could be starting to gel. Twelve games in 13 days on the tail end of an intense sprint.

Even if the Twins play quite well, the reality is that it's gonna be almost impossible for them to build up a comfortable first-place buffer in the 43 games leading up to these ones. One way or another, urgency will accompany this tricky, travel-filled segment of the schedule.

On the bright side, a nice reprieve awaits on the other end: Minnesota gets two off days in the final week, along with five home games against Detroit and Cincinnati.

Hopefully the Twins will be in good enough shape by then to rest some regulars and set themselves up for the postseason. But with the 30 games in the three stretches of strong headwinds above representing half of their "soft" schedule, getting into that position will be no breeze.

MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email

  • Channing1964 and SkyBlueWaters like this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

7 Comments

OK, here's the thing. Its really tough to predict what will happen over a 162 game season, much less a 60 game season. (Guessing Vegas is going nuts about now)!

One thing to consider is, barring Covid, most teams are physically healthy right now, including the Twins. I have wondered at times about the short season and not playing top teams like the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, etc. Does that make you less prepared for BIG BOY competition when the playoffs start?

And then I not only remember how deep and good this roster is, but I also reflect how "easy" the Twins schedule is supposed to be.

I'm sorry, but I just don't buy in to the Dirty Sox for 2020. Cleveland has enough talent to be scary. And even though the NL Central is supposed to be down/easy, and we play them far less than our own division, I find them to be a worry. When is the last time the Cardinals didn't field a competitive team? They always seem to have pitching and defense and enough offense to be dangerous. The Cubs have a lot of good talent on hand still. The Brewers were in the post season last year. The Reds are a mystery team, but could be dangerous if a few things break right.

This is NOT some insurmountable gauntlet, to be sure. And on paper, the Twins should be the better team vs any Central team they play. But other than Cleveland, I'm more worried about the NLC than I am the ALC. Stumbling against the NLC could be disastrous. Not saying it will happen, only saying this "weak schedule" may not be as easy as some say. You still hàve to go out and play and win.

But I keep thinking about the report of Cruz standing in front of his teammates and asking them to look around and asking, "why not us?"
    • Nick Nelson, tarheeltwinsfan, Channing1964 and 1 other like this
Photo
Channing1964
Jul 10 2020 12:32 AM
This is so much a crapshoot and an unknown entity. We already know we have a great looking team on paper. We can pat ourselves on the back for two more weeks but the bottom line is whoever sticks together, stays healthy, and takes care of business like professionals is gonna win this sprint. I love our management team and it sure looks like we are favorites, but this is a year where ANYTHING can(and probably will) happen. I just trust in Rocco and his staff to make sure we are as good as we can be.
    • DocBauer, tarheeltwinsfan and chinmusic like this
Photo
SkyBlueWaters
Jul 10 2020 10:44 AM

Good points about the tough spots in the schedule.

 

Conversely, between August 7 and Sept 7 the Twins play all 10 of their games v. Kansas City and 8 v. Detroit. Eighteen of 30 games played in that stretch are against those two.

 

Hopefully they will come out of the gate strong and assert themselves. Because I’m guessing if they don’t open up a comfortable lead by Sept 7, it will be a dogfight the rest of the way.

 

You could start that stretch against last year's bottom feeders with all 4 games against P’burgh, 2 home, 2 away, starting August 3rd. So that would be 22 of 34 games against Pitt, Det, and KC.

 

I don’t want to take anything for granted, as others have pointed out, there is lots that could go wrong. But if the Twins stay healthy and play to their potential, I think the stretch from August 3rd to September 7th just might be comparable to the hot start they had last year, where they came out of the gate 47-22.

    • Nick Nelson likes this
Photo
SkyBlueWaters
Jul 10 2020 11:02 AM

Nick, you wrote:"I happen to believe the White Sox will be a sneaky riser in the shortened format, and would bet on them winning more games than Cleveland."

 

I share your concern about the Chisox. Expanded rosters and veterans opting out create openings for young talent, and we've heard for a while how good their top prospects are. Adding Yasmani Grandal made the lineup deeper and could help the pitching staff. 

 

Some of the dead weight is gone from their rotation, guys with +5.00 ERAs. They've retained Giolito and prospects Lopez & Cease, adding Keuchel & Gio Gonzalez. Their pitching could be much better this year. 

 

    • Nick Nelson and tarheeltwinsfan like this

 

Nick, you wrote:"I happen to believe the White Sox will be a sneaky riser in the shortened format, and would bet on them winning more games than Cleveland."

 

I share your concern about the Chisox. Expanded rosters and veterans opting out create openings for young talent, and we've heard for a while how good their top prospects are. Adding Yasmani Grandal made the lineup deeper and could help the pitching staff. 

 

Some of the dead weight is gone from their rotation, guys with +5.00 ERAs. They've retained Giolito and prospects Lopez & Cease, adding Keuchel & Gio Gonzalez. Their pitching could be much better this year. 

I think it's worth noting that one of their best prospects, Michael Kopech, is opting out this year. 

    • DannySD likes this
Photo
tarheeltwinsfan
Jul 12 2020 09:39 AM

September 8 through September 20. "This right here". I agree. I am already looking forward to this challenge. Good article. Thanks.

Photo
SkyBlueWaters
Jul 12 2020 09:32 PM

 

I think it's worth noting that one of their best prospects, Michael Kopech, is opting out this year. 

 

Agreed. And a pitcher--although a pitcher who has had a lot of issues since last autumn. As a baseball fan, I hope he deals with all that bothers him.

 

Ranking prospective baseball talent is a notoriously rickety adventure. I loved one sportswriter's assessment of Sparky Anderson's eye: Every other guy who walked in the clubhouse door was the next Mickey Mantle.

 

(The thing is, for someone, they were, they were.)

 

Regarding MLB's assessment, I see Kopech as the 2nd of the Chisox' three in the top 40 here:

 

https://www.mlb.com/prospects