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  • What Would It Take To Come Back?

    Here at the All-Star break, the Twins find themselves 11 games out of first place, with a record 13 games below .500. The most likely scenario is that they sell off their assets within the next couple weeks and coast to a forgettable finish near the bottom of the division.

    But just what would it take for the Twins to surge back to the top of the division here in the second half? Anyone would have to admit that it's still possible, if extremely improbable. We've seen this team make up some significant deficits after the break in years past under Ron Gardenhire.



    Below, I've listed out a few things that, in my mind, would have to happen for the Twins to pull off their greatest turnaround yet. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section. (And, please, no "It's not going to happen" responses. The unlikelihood is obvious.)

    1) Come out of the break on fire.
    The trade deadline is only two weeks away, and with a double-digit deficit in the standings, the front office will have no choice but to sell. Without the likes of Francisco Liriano and others, they team will be dead in the water. If, however, the Twins can rattle off a bunch of wins in short order including dominating key series against the White Sox and Indians Terry Ryan may be compelled to keep the gang together and see what they can do.

    2) Dominate the division.

    I hinted at this above, but the Twins would really need to lay the hammer down on divisional opponents. They're 11 games behind and trailing four different clubs, so with 77 games remaining there is little margin for error. They probably can't afford to lose a single series against Chicago, Detroit or Cleveland.

    3) The White Sox must fall.
    Quietly, the Sox have turned into one of baseball's finest teams. Their 47-38 record ranks as sixth best in the majors, and they've been on a tear lately winning 11 of their last 15. If Chicago wins 90-some games, the Twins won't be catching them. Similarly, the Twins need the Tigers and Indians to remain lukewarm in the final months.

    4) Starting pitching must lead the way.
    Shockingly, the Twins got three good starts against an offensive powerhouse in Texas heading into the break. Yet, their starters still own the worst ERA in the American League. Minnesota will need to win at a .650+ clip from here on out to have a chance; they simply won't be doing that without vastly improved starting pitching.

    5) The bullpen can't slip up.
    It seems we might already be seeing some signs of the bullpen's heavy workload over the first half catching up. Given the aforementioned slim margin for error, the Twins can't really afford to let late leads slip away like they did in Texas over the weekend.
    This article was originally published in blog: What Would It Take To Come Back? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 45 Comments
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Nick, have you been drinking some of my Kool-Aid recently?
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      6) No slumps by Plouffe, Mauer, Willingham etc AND Morneau has to start producing at an respectable level.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      The SP will have to go 6 strongs Innings. Twins come out and win 10 in a row and then do it again later. Key pitching,good defense and timely hitter can do it.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      7) Verlander pitches every game like he did tonight, the entire Indians squad gets a bad case of the flu for a month, the Royals lose their three best players for using PEDs, and the White Sox all have whiplash from a bus accident.

      8) at least three Twins pitchers get bitten by the same radioactive spider that bit Plouffe.
    1. Land Of 10,000 Beasts's Avatar
      Land Of 10,000 Beasts -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      7) Verlander pitches every game like he did tonight, the entire Indians squad gets a bad case of the flu for a month, the Royals lose their three best players for using PEDs, and the White Sox all have whiplash from a bus accident.

      8) at least three Twins pitchers get bitten by the same radioactive spider that bit Plouffe.
      I was gonna add a 9th but I just couldn't top that. That was brilliant sir.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Nick needs to be introduced to reality! The Twins have been the WORST team in the AL since September 2010 and have shown no signs of improvement. I take it this is your first year following the club?
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      No injuries! So far this year we have been very lucky not to have a position player go down - and we're still 11 games back! Imagine if Mauer or Willingham or Span or Revere were down for 6 weeks.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      as bad as the central is, they'd need their starters to suddenly look like good starters and for Morneau to hit like he did in May. Though that said, they should be selling.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      and have shown no signs of improvement.
      You must not have been watching this team for the last month or so. I would call an entire month playing above 500 ball a sign of improvement.
    1. edavis0308's Avatar
      edavis0308 -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      Nick needs to be introduced to reality! The Twins have been the WORST team in the AL since September 2010 and have shown no signs of improvement. I take it this is your first year following the club?
      Good thing you heeded his suggestion of no "it isn't going to happen" responses.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      I was going to say "You're out of your gourd, Nick"... but that's been disallowed.

      So instead... remember that historically improbable run in 2006? The Twins could get right back in it with another one! All it'll take is to make the 2006 Twins look like the 2003 Tigers!
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      You must not have been watching this team for the last month or so. I would call an entire month playing above 500 ball a sign of improvement.
      No, they're still terrible. Playing winning ball only means they're playing winning ball. That's not how you succeed in this league.

      *head explodes*
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      Playing winning ball only means they're playing winning ball. That's not how you succeed in this league.
      That is a real paradox my friend... The word "improvement" means getting better. I would consider the last month as a positive for the Twins, and reason for optimism.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      Playing winning ball only means they're playing winning ball. That's not how you succeed in this league.
      I guess I need this clarified as to what your point is. I would have said that winning is the definition of success.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      That is a real paradox my friend... The word "improvement" means getting better. I would consider the last month as a positive for the Twins, and reason for optimism.
      You're getting a bad case of VD buddy. And not the usual kind.....
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      That is a real paradox my friend... The word "improvement" means getting better. I would consider the last month as a positive for the Twins, and reason for optimism.
      Well, it's pretty obvious that the team is improving. These are the cost-controlled guys that have been driving the team for the past 4-6 weeks:

      Mauer
      Plouffe
      Diamond
      Perkins
      Burton
      Revere
      Willingham
      Span
      Burnett
      Doumit
      Duensing

      All of those guys are locked up through 2014, if I'm not mistaken. That's half the 25 man roster.

      This team is far from "good" but it's obvious that they have something brewing that could form into a decent team with the right acquisitions. No one of importance outside of Liriano is going to be lost after this season. That's one guy. One guy. Everybody else has been ineffective or injured.

      Two starting pitchers (one for Span, one FA) with Gibson returning to form and this team is suddenly an AL contender. It's a bit of a stretch to expect everything to slot in perfectly but after the past two seasons being decimated by injury, it's about damned time the Twins got a break.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      You must not have been watching this team for the last month or so. I would call an entire month playing above 500 ball a sign of improvement.
      You lowballed your own point...it's been two months. Man that first month+ hurts more every day!

      Agree with the previously made point: I think one of the bigger requirements is Morneau improving even half-way from where he's been to where he "should" be.
    1. savvyspy's Avatar
      savvyspy -
      Tommorow Nick is going to lay out how to get struck by lightning at the exact time you sank your 2nd hole in one of the round. And tune in Friday for a breakdown of which Victoria's Secret model is going to ask me to marry them!!
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      Two starting pitchers (one for Span, one FA) with Gibson returning to form and this team is suddenly an AL contender. It's a bit of a stretch to expect everything to slot in perfectly but after the past two seasons being decimated by injury, it's about damned time the Twins got a break.
      Well if we address one of the starter spots with trading Span than it takes him off the team control list. Nit-picky but worth noting that we would have a corner outfield spot to fill. But, to be honest, I'd much rather see us shop Willingham than Span. If you can get a similar package for Hammer as Span, it would make much more long-term sense for the team. And at this pace, I think Hammer's value is about as high as it will ever be at the end of this month.

      These next few months are going to tell a lot about what hopes we can have going forward.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Well if we address one of the starter spots with trading Span than it takes him off the team control list. Nit-picky but worth noting that we would have a corner outfield spot to fill. But, to be honest, I'd much rather see us shop Willingham than Span. If you can get a similar package for Hammer as Span, it would make much more long-term sense for the team. And at this pace, I think Hammer's value is about as high as it will ever be at the end of this month.

      These next few months are going to tell a lot about what hopes we can have going forward.
      I disagree. I think teams are still going to be wary of Willingham based on his age, the fact that he was a FA this offseason and they didn't pick him up, and that he's a limited ability corner outfielder.

      On the other hand, the Twins have Revere behind Span. Putting Revere in CF actually strengthens him as a player, as CF makes his range more of a factor and his arm is slightly marginalized there.

      That means the team needs to find a corner OF for 2013. Thankfully, corner outfielders who can put up Revere's offensive production (though not defensive) are one of the easiest things to find in baseball. It's not even that difficult to find a guy who will hit enough to offset the defensive loss in moving Revere to CF. All the Twins need is a guy who can play corner OF for one season, after which one of the Hicks/Arcia/Benson trio should be close to getting a shot.

      Like, say, a one or two year deal to Torii Hunter. It makes sense on so many levels. Fans love him, he's probably open to returning to MN, and he's nothing more than a corner OF at this point and possibly nothing more than a backup in 2014.
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