Jump to content

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

The Forums

Nelson Cruz wants 2 years

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:01 PM
https://www.mlbtrade...-year-deal.html
Full topic ›

Target Field Tax Status

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:58 PM
Been reading about all the losses (alleged or not) that MLB has (and maybe will again) taken with the pandemic, and wondered how the tax...
Full topic ›

MLB.com report on instructional league prospects

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 11:30 AM
In case you haven't seen it, mlb.com has published an article on the prospects at instructional league camp and their progress.   ht...
Full topic ›

2020 MLB (non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

Other Baseball Today, 09:08 AM
Feel free to chime in here about any of the (non-Twins) 2020 MLB postseason games!
Full topic ›

Recent Blogs


Yankees Provide Opportunity, Not Fearful History, For Twins

Forget that we’ve seen a shortened season. Forget that it was a sprint to the finish. Forget that this is arguably the Twins best team in franchise history. Forget that they are once again among baseball’s best. All roads lead to New York. It seems, once again, the Twins will face the Yankees to open a Postseason slate. That’s where the bad news ends.
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
I feel like I may have written something like this a year ago, but it rings true again today, and Rocco Baldelli’s club certainly has more to build on. Every time the Twins face New York in the playoffs there will be talk about the futility embedded in the matchup. That’s not a team problem however, and it isn’t even an organizational one. The reality is that the Yankees are often good, and they are often in the Postseason. This current group doesn’t care how things went for Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer.

Short of a colossal collapse from the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota will finish second in the AL Central and host New York in the Postseason. Nash Walker recently penned a great piece as to why it may make sense to welcome the Evil Empire. Beyond that, the only history that matters in 2020 is what can be gleaned from the 2019 sweep. Let’s get into that.

Where are the bats?

After setting a Major League record 307 single-season home runs in 2019, the offensive prowess went in the tank when it mattered most. Minnesota pushed across just seven runs in three games during the ALDS, and they led for a grand total of two innings throughout the series. The trio of Max Kepler, Mitch Garver, and Miguel Sano all became nonexistent, while 39-year-old Nelson Cruz failed to produce anything of substance as well.

In 2020 the offense hasn’t been at all what was expected. Thinking they’d light up the scoreboard every night, it just hasn’t been the case. The Twins have missed significant time from sluggers like Garver and Josh Donaldson, while the lineup hasn’t really clicked for any substantial period of time. Even still the results have shown up in the win column, and capable is a good descriptor for what Minnesota can do on any given day. The Yankees lineup is again daunting, but pitching won’t matter if the Twins can’t score.

Pitching, Pitching, Pitching

Going into the Postseason a year ago there were plenty of concerns about the Twins pitching, and it seemed like a lofty task to keep the Yankees in check. Jose Berrios struggled down the stretch, and Randy Dobnak was given the ball in game two as a matchup play instead of Jake Odorizzi. When the dust settled New York had plated 23 runs across three games against the Twins and Minnesota was swept in quick fashion. The bullpen had gone from massive question mark on Opening Day, to becoming a relative force by season’s end. It didn’t factor much as the Twins were behind early and often in these tilts, and any ability from that group was thwarted pretty quickly.

This season the Twins have gotten great efforts from a handful of guys. Jose Berrios has been rolling through his last six turns, while Kenta Maeda looks worthy of Cy Young votes. Michael Pineda returned and picked up right where he left off, and Rich Hill has rounded into form of late. If Jake Odorizzi’s finger is healed in time for October baseball, he too could provide a lift despite such an unfortunate string of luck in 2020. There are few question marks when it comes to the “who” on Rocco’s staff, and he should feel good about choosing any of them for the “when.”

Oh, Byron Where Art Thou?

A shoulder injury ended Byron Buxton’s season in 2019 and it was a crushing blow for the Twins. Their record in games he played was better to a lopsided degree, and his .827 OPS was as much an indicator as to why as his glove was. Max Kepler posted a breakout season defensively, but centerfield wore on him down the stretch and there’s no denying the upgrade Byron brings all over the diamond just by being in the middle of the grass.

Buxton has missed time in 2020 as well, but his 36-game sample has provided a banner year. Currently he owns an .880 OPS and has swatted 12 homers. His plate discipline could use work still as evidenced by the 29/2 K/BB, but he’s getting off an “A” swing plenty, and he’s making sure to do damage when he connects. Still the fastest man in baseball and one of the game’s best defenders, having him patrolling the outfield against any opponent is an upgrade that can’t be overstated.

It will never matter to the current collection of players what history has dealt to a franchise, and it shouldn’t. Recent history is something this collection likely wants to overcome however, and each side loaded up with one big new piece. Gerrit Cole was always destined for New York, and Josh Donaldson made a surprise splash in Minnesota. It’s time to tango, and Minnesota is as well positioned as ever.

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

  • ToddlerHarmon likes this

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

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

11 Comments

HAHAHA - oh are we well positioned.We struggle with the Tigers, the Yankees win 12 - 1 against the Jays.  

    • jud6312 likes this
I've been saying all roads do Not lead to NYY, at least not in round 1.

Twins win with Maeda tomorrow and take at least 2 of 3 vs. CIN and end up 37-23.

ChiSox lose vs. Bieber tomorrow and against both Darvish/Lester and (maybe anybody vs. Lopez) then end up 36-24 at best.

Prove me wrong. Worst case we'll still get home field vs. NYY and I can't see us losing 2 of 3 at home against them this year. We haven't lost 2 games in any series this year.
    • Joey P likes this

Agree with the failures of the Hunter/Mauer/Morneau teams meaning absolutely nothing now (except to the media who loves to write about them when the teams meet) and that even 2019 may not mean so much because everything is so different in 2020.The big problem IMO in a Yankee series is that they bring stellar starting pitching as well.Cole is back to being Superman after a couple starts where he was mortal.Not comfortable facing Tanaka as well.I could very well see another game like last Friday in which Hill was magnificent, but Hendricks was just slightly better.Not to say the Twins are doomed - far from it, but there still are legitimate reasons to not be comfortable against New York, either at Target Field or Yankee Stadium. 

 

Agree with the failures of the Hunter/Mauer/Morneau teams meaning absolutely nothing now (except to the media who loves to write about them when the teams meet) and that even 2019 may not mean so much because everything is so different in 2020.The big problem IMO in a Yankee series is that they bring stellar starting pitching as well.Cole is back to being Superman after a couple starts where he was mortal.Not comfortable facing Tanaka as well.I could very well see another game like last Friday in which Hill was magnificent, but Hendricks was just slightly better.Not to say the Twins are doomed - far from it, but there still are legitimate reasons to not be comfortable against New York, either at Target Field or Yankee Stadium. 

Talent has always been the real factor in the NY/MN series and this NY team would have a lot better record without the major injuries in the first half.Of all the AL teams they are the ones I least want to face.And yes, history matters.Don't tell me the players have not heard over and over about the streak.

 

Talent has always been the real factor in the NY/MN series and this NY team would have a lot better record without the major injuries in the first half.Of all the AL teams they are the ones I least want to face.And yes, history matters.Don't tell me the players have not heard over and over about the streak.

So would the Twins. We have had a lot of injuries at key times too!

    • JoshDungan1 and twinbythebay like this

I dunno... I was told last year was the year to "slay the dragon", and that went as poorly as it possibly could have been. 

 

Also, if the Twins lose Game 1 of the playoffs, they set the all-time record in consecutive playoff losses in any American sport. They are currently at 16 straight losses.

 

 

The only other MLB, NHL, NBA or NFL team to have such an unfortunate playoff run is the Chicago Blackhawks, who lost 16 straight Stanley Cup playoff games from 1975-1979.

 

 

The only other MLB, NHL, NBA or NFL team to have such an unfortunate playoff run is the Chicago Blackhawks, who lost 16 straight Stanley Cup playoff games from 1975-1979.

And some of those Chicago Blackhawks teams were pretty bad but made the playoffs anyway -- the NHL at that time had only 18 teams in the whole league, and 12 of them made the playoffs.

 

So the Twins current streak is arguably worse.

    • Danchat likes this

I think we just don't know in a two - games - out of - three series.

 

Either team could blow hotter or colder. Either team is capable of winning, since so much depends on that day's pitching performance. Cole can be got to, but usually not. Maeda only misses the win when his team lets him down. That could happen again.

 

It's not just that we lost in three straight last year, it's how over-matched we looked. Let's hope that experience is reversed this time.

 

But I definitely want any post-season matchup with NY Yankees to be in Target Field!

    • Joey P likes this

Every year we talk about how this is not the same team that has lost so many times in the past, but yet we go out and play the same script against the Yankees, we lose and look terrible doing it.I will never feel like we can beat them, until we do.I will never look forward to facing them in the playoffs until we show we are not scared of them.I will say, I will have some hope if we are at home, because neither team has done well on road and crushed at home.However, the team that struggled a few weeks ago is not who we will be facing, we will be facing the team that has gone on a tear and looks to be the team everyone picked to get to WS. 

My Brain: "I accept the premise. This is doable."

My Soul: "NO NO NO NO NO! I'M NOT DOING THIS AGAIN!"

    • USAFChief, Twins33 and Melissa like this
I just realized there is a worse outcome than the Twins losing to the Yankees this postseason: the Twins losing to a different team, while the White Sox or Cleveland defeats the Yankees. (Shades of 2006.)

Similar Articles


by Nick Nelson , 25 Oct 2020
Photo


by Ted Schwerzler , 22 Oct 2020
Photo


by Ted Schwerzler , 20 Oct 2020
Photo


by Ted Schwerzler , 15 Oct 2020
Photo


by Ted Schwerzler , 13 Oct 2020
Photo