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Game Thread Twins @ Cubs 9 /20/2020 6:00 PM CDT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:55 PM
The Twins conclude their week in Chicago with a Sunday night game against the Cubs. The Twins have won two of the first six games against...

Gardy announces retirement

Other Baseball Today, 03:39 PM
This is an AP article lifted from the StarTribune web site.DETROIT — Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire announced his immediate retirement bar...

The Defense And Reality of Dobnak

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:15 PM
I almost posted this in a front page thread but decided it needed it's own. I know we are in a playoff push with mixtures of optimism and...

LT contracts for current star position players

Other Baseball Today, 09:13 AM
I see that Yelich is still effected by a broken kneecap from last year and has a longterm contract now through 2028. It always raised an...

How does this scoring get the win?

Other Baseball Today, 09:35 AM
Here is the pitching box Grateral 1.1 innings one run Kolarek 0.2 innings no runs Dodgers take lead May 5.1 innings 3 runs Gonzalez 1 inn...

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Critical Week for the Twins

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 03 August 2020 · 1,109 views

minnesota twins pittsburgh pirates kansas city royals
The Minnesota Twins have jumped out to a 7-2 start for the 9th time in franchise history, and first since 2001. Facing arguably the toughest portion of their schedule, they’ve certainly been up to the challenge. Now with some basement dwellers on tap, this is a massively important week.

Rocco Baldelli’s club welcomes former bench coach Derek Shelton to Target Field tonight for a two-game, home and home series. The Pirates are just 2-7, don’t have much in the form of Major League talent, and also aren’t ready to call up any impact prospects. The Twins getting four games with a team expected to finish near the bottom of the NL Central is a nice reward following the tough stretch.

From there, things don’t get too much tougher either. While the road trip does continue to Kansas City, three games with the Royals is something this very good ballclub should be licking their chops about. Mike Matheny’s group may not finish below the Detroit Tigers, but both clubs should be battling to be the worst in the AL Central.

While that’s seven games in a row where Minnesota should be substantial favorites, the schedule also tilts in their direction when it comes to the chief competition. Cleveland has a home and home series with the Reds before traveling to face the White Sox and needing to cannibalize a division rival. Chicago does the home and home thing with Milwaukee to start their week off.

Just nine games in the Twins already have a 2.0 game lead, but they also have a +22-run differential with the White Sox behind them at +5. By the end of the week Minnesota could have something like a four or five game lead, and in a season that the number represents over 8% of the total action, that’s substantial.

You could make a very solid argument that the Twins toughest part of the season is now behind them. They do have a difficult run in September that spans just over a week and includes the Cardinals, Indians, White Sox, and Cubs as opponents. While that period certainly will determine the division, setting themselves up in such impressive starting position is a very enviable spot to be in.

Only the New York Yankees have a better record than Minnesota right now and just the Dodgers have a better run differential (+30). Baldelli’s lineup hasn’t come close to thriving yet, and still a significant part of the damage is being done in the first two innings. However, the Twins haven’t lost when scoring first so jumping on the opposing starter early is hardly a bad strategy.

We knew this season was going to be a sprint, and a good start generally sets up the ability for some pace in the middle. Josh Donaldson needs to get healthy and return. The lineup needs to get going. There are some tweaks to be made, but this group is setting up for something special.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz