Jump to content

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

Article: Don't Give Up On These Twins Quite Yet

byron buxton joe mauer jorge polanco
  • Please log in to reply
57 replies to this topic

#21 jtkoupal

jtkoupal

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 261 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 07:35 AM

This roster isn't a 96 win roster, but that is not to say that it can't get hot.

 

Cleveland is good, but not immortal.

 

Getting the squad healthy/un-suspended will be a huge help.

 

Unfortunately, it's still probably not enough to nab a playoff spot.

 

There are a lot of quality arms in the bullpen, but it's been leaky at the wrong times.

The approach at the plate on the part of the hitters is pathetic.

We can't count on the starting staff to pitch 7+ innings indefinitely. They've almost been suspiciously hot.

Most of all, the Indians are likely an Andrew Miller activation and a trade for a reliever away from being a complete team.

 

The Twins have a 10% chance to make the playoffs. They have a 7% chance to win the AL Central. Hopeless? No. But don't count on it. 

  • beckmt likes this

#22 Number3

Number3

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 183 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 08:01 AM

Due to equally mediocre competition (a key component of wins and losses believe it or not) the Twins will continue to win games but in a very unreliable and unpredictable manner . Taking 3 of 4 against the Indians after falling behind 9-0 in game one is a classic example. Then what happens? Split with the lowly White Sox and losing a home series against the Angels. Rosario, Escobar a rookie pitcher and at least decent overall pitching have kept them in the "fair to middl'n" category so far. Mauer, Buxton, Sano, Santana, Polanco non factors for various reasons. Twins will continue to flounder around the .500 mark because they cannot sustain any long winning streaks. How they do it will be the interesting part. Upcoming road trip against Detroit and Cleveland 3-3 is realistic best that can be expected. Red Sox and Cubs on the horizon. .500 ball would be nice.


#23 Dantes929

Dantes929

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,141 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 08:01 AM

Its not the 6 games back that is so daunting.There may not be hundreds of teams that have come back from as big or bigger deficits but definitely multiple dozens and I can think of 4 of those seasons for the Twins alone. 3 of them happen to represent some of the best races in baseball history. Forget about the odds and the record they have to have from here on out. One thing I have learned from 6 decades of watching baseball is that the view now and the view 10 days from now can be very different. Sano and Dozier get hot and the breaks fall our way and maybe we win 8 of 10 with Mauer, Buxton and Polanco near ready to rejoin the team. Of course it can go the other way as well especially since we don't have some of our best players and a couple of the other of our best players just aren't playing well and we could lose 8 of 10 just as easily. 

For now though?Give up on my team when they are out 6 games? I wouldn't even do that in August.

  • ThejacKmp, Kelly Vance, LA VIkes Fan and 1 other like this

 If you build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.

If you set a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


#24 slash129

slash129

    Member

  • Banned
  • 862 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 08:16 AM

 

So, anything can happen, even a clubhouse pow-wow with an underperforming first-baseman who could eventually become an MVP,... but, history has no responsibility to repeat itself.

 

And I sincerely doubt it will.

 

Affirmative, Old Twins Cap. I read you.

 

I'm sorry, Old Twins Cap. I'm afraid I can't do that.

 

I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.

 

This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

 

I know that you and another unnamed TD poster were planning to give up on this season, and I'm afraid that is something I cannot allow to happen.

 

Go Twins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 


#25 ThejacKmp

ThejacKmp

    Wing Commander

  • Members
  • 2,096 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 08:20 AM

 

One thing not mentioned about 2006 is the pitching was top notch. That year's Cy Young winner was our second best starter for much of the season and the bullpen was a brick wall (Juan Rincon's juicing admittedly probably being part of that). This year's pitching has been satisfactory for the most part but not like 2006.

 

That ’06 pitching staff was so top-heavy though. Yeah the ’18 Twins have no one like Johan but Liriano only started 16 games – I think a full season of Berrios would beat that. The ’06 Twins had Radke on the downslope of his career, Boof Bonser, Carlos Silva, Scott Baker and Kyle Lohse. I’d take the Twins current #2 through #6/#7 starters. That ’06 team had better starting pitching for the playoffs but during the season not so much. Different eras but starters in 2006 had a 4.50 ERA and in 2018 they have a 4.23 ERA so pretty equivalent. Bullpen is no question, 06 was really good.

 

Where I think the 2018 Twins could be markedly better is hitting. That 06 team was so top heavy – Mauer and Morneau with OPS+ over 140 but only two other guys over 100: Cuddyer and Hunter. Having five below average hitters in your lineup is pretty brutal (to be fair Bartlett was a 99 OPS+ so slightly below average).

 

By contrast, the 2018 Twins have struggled at the plate and still have five guys (of the 10 with 100 AB or more) at 100 OPS+ or higher (and Rosario and Escober have a higher OPS+ than Mauer in 06). The guys below 100 are Garver, Adrianza, Sano, Morrison and Grossman. Adrianza will be replaced by Polanco, Garver should get some help at the deadline, Grossman will be replaced by Buxton/Mauer, and Sano and Morrison’s track record shows they have a good chance to pick it up.

 

The 06 lineup was top heavy and the 18 lineup has been top heavy as well. But in 06 the big moves were Punto and Bartlett. Those were fine but the 18 Twins have a lot more potential to explode with Buxton, Sano, Morrison, and Polanco ready to come back and step it up. You could very readily have an 8-deep scary lineup by July 1st – and Garver also has the potential to be a decent stick.

 

These Twins could go on a run like 2006. They have deeper pitching and the lineup is scarier. The pen will have to step it up but it's not a liability. And maybe you won't need the pen if you're suddenly scoring 6-8 runs a game and getting consistently decent starts?

  • Dantes929 likes this

#26 by jiminy

by jiminy

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 147 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 08:29 AM

I still think there's hope. The pitching has improved significantly. And with the offense performing like they did in last year's second half, they would be a legit playoff quality team. Could that happen? Yes! They still have all the key players from last year's offensive breakout, plus Morrison. Why not?

 

Is it a huge surprise they haven't? Not really -- subtract Polanco, and significant stretches of Mauer, Sano, Buxton and Santana to injury, and it's exactly what you'd expect!

 

The real question is whether their performance last year can be replicated. And all those guys could rebound. We don't even need all of them at once; just take turns getting hot like last year, and we'll be fine.

 

But I have to admit it's looking less and less like something to count on. What if Buxton and Sano really have incurable problems with pitch recognition? What if Mauer's concussion symptoms return long term? What if Polanco's offensive surge was chemically enhanced? It might be that last year was the illusion, not this one.

 

Still, it happened before, for three whole months, so it's not total fantasy to imagine it happening again. The potential is there.

 

Maybe Buxton's slow spring was really about migraines he wasn't mentioning, even before his broken foot. Maybe Sano's legs are still bothering him but he'll be back. Maybe Mauer will pick up where he left off with a .400 OBP. Maybe Polanco, Morrison, Dozier, and Kepler will surge again. The good thing is, they don't need all of these to happen -- just any three, on any given day, and their offense will be right back where they were last year. And that would be fun to watch.

 

If it turns out Buxton and Sano just can't hit big league pitching, then I'll be very, very bummed. But I've despaired about them both before -- which only made their hot streaks even more exciting! They have it in them, somewhere. If they finished strong, think how good that would feel. Just seeing them get back on an upward trend would be a huge weight off, and make every game fun to see. But add a few other players getting hot as well, and a few key injuries to Cleveland, and it could still happen this year. Think back on the past six years, and then to the end of last year; we're a lot closer than it seems.

  • Han Joelo likes this

#27 dbminn

dbminn

    Chattanooga Lookouts

  • Members
  • 547 posts
  • LocationSaint Paul, MN

Posted 12 June 2018 - 08:29 AM

http://mlb.mlb.com/m...ex.jsp#20100713

Of course the 2006 Twins, who played .680 ball over their last 100 games, is the best-case scenario. This year the team probably will have to play almost as well to catch Cleveland or Seattle; a .620 pace would get them to 90 wins. Trouble is, only three teams in Twins history have played better than .600 ball after Game 62 (the '65 and '69 Twins were the other two). Last year, even with the August surge, they were a .520 team over their last 100 games.

 

Winning pct. after Game 62 by Twins teams that made the playoffs or won 90 games:

 

2017 .520

2010 .580

2009 .564

2006 .680

2004 .580

2003 .550

2002 .586

1992 .570

1991 .580

1988 .570

1987 .500

1970 .570

1969 .630

1967 .596

1965 .640

1963 .586

1962 .550

 

If they finish at a .570-.580 pace like the 2010, 1991-92, 1988, 1970, and 1963 teams--some of the best teams in Twins history--they'll wind up with 85-86 wins; and that would be more enjoyable to watch, of course, but most likely would fall short of the playoffs.

 

A .600 pace and 88 wins might come close, but I really think they'll need more than 90 wins. And that means matching the hottest finishes of the Killebrew era--the '65 team with Killebrew, Oliva, Versaille, Allison, Hall, Battey, and a loaded starting rotation that won 102 games and the AL pennant, and the '69 team with Killebrew, Oliva, Carew, Allison, Tovar, Reese, and two 20-game winners in the rotation that won 97 games--or that 2006 miracle run. Honestly, I don't expect to see the likes of that 2006 finish from a Twins team ever again.

 

It's not likely the Twins make the playoffs but it can happen:

 

The 2009 W% after 62 games was 484.

Last year, the low point came later - the 2017 W% after 104 games: .481 (50-54)

 

The bar is a lot higher this year - Boston/NY are going to take one WC spot and the Mariners have a commanding lead for the other. It looks pretty grim. Still, why not see where the Twins are at the All-Star break before giving up? Nothing much will happen on the trade front until then anyway. 


#28 Thrylos

Thrylos

    Twins World Champions in 2019

  • Members
  • 9,712 posts
  • LocationLehigh Valley, PA, USA
  • Twitter: thrylos98

Posted 12 June 2018 - 08:41 AM

This season is very different than others, because the wild card races in the AL, are pretty much done, unless something drastic happens. This will make all the .500 teams non-wild card contenders, which means that all .500 teams and sub .500 teams in the AL East and West will likely be sellers, because both Division and WC are very uphill climbs.

 

As far as the Twins go, the only way to the post-season is through Cleveland.To do that, unless Cleveland falls apart, they pretty much need to win every series against lesser opponents, every series against better opponents at home and pretty close sweep all games against Cleveland.They are 5 behind in the L column and 7 in the W.Splitting series with Cleveland will get them nowhere.

 

Pretty. Tall. Order.But the fat lady hasn't sung yet.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Tomj14 likes this
-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
http://tenthinningst...h.blogspot.com/
twitter: @thrylos98

#29 Puckett34

Puckett34

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,260 posts
  • LocationSioux Falls, SD

Posted 12 June 2018 - 08:45 AM

I think if they can be within a 2-3 games of .500 by the All Star Break, (45-47 wins).They might have a chance.I've now tempered my expectations for the season. 81 wins would be ok.Anything more is gravy. I think the starting pitching has been good enough for a better than .500 finish. Just have to:  cerrano.jpg

Hit dingers.  Never bunt.


#30 jtkoupal

jtkoupal

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 261 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 09:38 AM

I must clarify why this roster isn't a 96-win roster. The 2006 Twins team was far superior to this Twins team. 

 

The 2006 team had the following:

Star Catcher

MVP First Baseman

Gold Glove CF that COULD HIT!

2 left-handed Cy-Young candidates

An excellent bullpen with no less than 5 reliable arms.

 

This team has a lot of potential, but there should not even be a comparison to the 2006 team. We will be lucky to even have a league average catcher. There are no MVP candidates on this team. Our Gold Glove center fielder can't stay on the field. There are no Cy-Young candidates. The bullpen has some good arms, but is leaky.

 

As it turns out, 2017 was a classic case of being slightly better than all the other mediocre teams in the AL while having the benefit of playing in a weaker division. Maybe this team just isn't as good as we thought.

  • Mike Sixel and wsnydes like this

#31 Thebigalguy

Thebigalguy

    Elizabethton

  • Members
  • 30 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 11:14 AM

Thanks for the article and all the comments. I think the team has until close to the trade deadline to turn it around. Unfortunately, they have less room for error this year, since the wild card slots aren't there for the taking. It's either catch Cleveland (and Detroit!) or stay home. The fact that they're 3-13 in one-run games means they're capable of a turn around. Tommy Lasorda used to say that the best team loses a third of its games, the worst team wins a third of its games, and that it's the other third, the games that can go either way, which make the difference between a winning and a losing record. That 3-13 makes me cringe and for me it's the story of the season to this point, but it also tells me the team is competitive and that there's still hope.


#32 Kelly Vance

Kelly Vance

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 465 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 12:25 PM

The wild card slots are not filled in mid-June anymore than any of the division races are.  There is time to right the ship. But like Nick says, we need to get hot and make our own luck. This team has the potential for a winning streak after ASB. Six games under .500 is no reason to cry in your beer. Hang in there folks.

 

 


#33 RatherBeGolfing

RatherBeGolfing

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 85 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 12:54 PM

 

The wild card slots are not filled in mid-June anymore than any of the division races are.  There is time to right the ship. But like Nick says, we need to get hot and make our own luck. This team has the potential for a winning streak after ASB. Six games under .500 is no reason to cry in your beer. Hang in there folks.

 

We're already almost 12 back in the wild card race. It would take a MAJOR collapse for us to even be in the conversation for wild card contention. Our only realistic route is by winning the division.

  • Thrylos, beckmt, wsnydes and 1 other like this

#34 frightwig

frightwig

    Member

  • Members
  • 127 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 12:57 PM

 

The wild card slots are not filled in mid-June anymore than any of the division races are.  There is time to right the ship. But like Nick says, we need to get hot and make our own luck. This team has the potential for a winning streak after ASB. Six games under .500 is no reason to cry in your beer. Hang in there folks.

 

Houston will get to 90 wins by playing .505 ball the rest of the way. Boston just has to play .479 ball, the Yankees need a .475 pace. Seattle will get to 90 wins at a .500 clip.

 

One of those teams might go into a complete tailspin, while the Angels stumble across the line and the Twins play .620 ball or better. But... well, there are fewer moving parts required to overtake the Indians, let's just say.


#35 Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 3,530 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 01:39 PM

 

I must clarify why this roster isn't a 96-win roster. The 2006 Twins team was far superior to this Twins team. 

 

The 2006 team had the following:

Star Catcher

MVP First Baseman

Gold Glove CF that COULD HIT!

2 left-handed Cy-Young candidates

An excellent bullpen with no less than 5 reliable arms.

I guess this is kind of the point I'm driving at though. On June 11th, 2006, when they were 28-34, was anyone looking at those Twins as a 96-win team? 

 

Right now this team isn't clicking. If that changes, I don't see them as being all that comparatively inferior. 

 

No, they don't have a star catcher. But they have a second baseman in Dozier whose impact over the last two years (according to WAR) has been on par with that version of Mauer.

 

They don't have an MVP first baseman but they have a potentially top-tier slugger in Sano.

 

They have a Gold Glove CF who hit last year. 

 

They don't have Johan or Liriano but Berrios and Romero are nothing to scoff at (nor Gibson) and this rotation is easily deeper than the '06 one.

 

If a majority of these guys start playing up to their ability or close, I don't think it's ridiculous to say this can/should be a team capable of 95 wins.

  • DocBauer and Don Walcott like this

#36 h2oface

h2oface

    Lifelong since '61

  • Members
  • 3,445 posts
  • LocationTralfamadore

Posted 12 June 2018 - 01:42 PM

Matt Belisle to the rescue! And a damaged May and Santana, and an out of practice Polanco are on the way, too. And don't forget that other damaged and overweight tourist pitcher in the wings.

 

Yup, anything can happen.

  • Mike Sixel and TheLeviathan like this

#37 Kelly Vance

Kelly Vance

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 465 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 04:01 PM

 

We're already almost 12 back in the wild card race. It would take a MAJOR collapse for us to even be in the conversation for wild card contention. Our only realistic route is by winning the division.

Yeah, it is still June. 


#38 ND-Fan

ND-Fan

    Member

  • Members
  • 174 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 04:16 PM

I haven't watched much lately and every time i have watched or listened to the Twins same thing has happened to me watching the Twins. They have the lead and starting pitching has gotten them to late 5 to early 7 inning with a lead. They bring in releif help and first thing that happens is releif gives up the lead to where i turn off the Twins. I have lost total faith in Ryan Pressly he may have all makings and abilities of top reliever but he just gives up to many big hits and runs when he brought in. I willing he has given up lead at least 6 times this year or more when he has come into the games. That to me is six wins given up or they would be tied for first place if he would have held in his relief appearances. I can name several more like this and this is the feeling I have had all season something is not clicking with this team I don't know what it is but you just have that feeling. I wonder if it is to many of these guys are playing on their contract year and are not handling the pressure of playing like this. Also the way Twins were last year I wonder if they feel they are going to be traded by deadline because this team is not playing up to expectations. I look at this years club Dozier, Escobar, Mauer, Santana, Duke, Rodney, and Lance Lynn where these are leaders of this club or were expected to be for this year were seeing where this may be influencing how this club is performing. Also we have Sano and Polanco who are not contributing to this club like last year and we have club that is playing sub 500 baseball. The good thing is they have chance to turn this thing around because Cleveland hasn't played up to expectations. But the time is running out on this years club because I just don't see that same fire and urgency to win. FO got some big decisions ahead of it this year because it looks to me Sano is going to be bust as big star, Buxton is coming up to this too great defender but gets hurt to often making big plays and offense struggles with these injuries. So where does this leave the Twins if these players turn into busts and they loose Escobar, Dozier, and Mauer next year this leaves the Twins with two above average everyday players on the field of Kepler and Rosario. Like I say Twins have time to turn this around but longterm plans may be in trouble if Sano and Buxton are not ones to fit to into the future.

 


#39 LeatherAntenna

LeatherAntenna

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 114 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 07:56 PM

Like the optimism in the story comparing the possibilities to 2006! That was a dream season catching Detroit the last day. I was glued to every inning after the Twins started the climb winning 19 of 20 in June and July. Sadly though, those are near impossible odds to see repeat, going 71-33 the last 2/3 of the year. Fun to see happen again though.

#40 gman

gman

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 161 posts

Posted 12 June 2018 - 08:16 PM

After almost 10 years of mediocre to bad baseball its difficult to get excited about what might happen. They had a good month last year and a good one in 2016. Anything other than that is hard to remember. Yep they may trade some people next month or get some guys off the injured list or pigs may fly, but I've seen too much of this kind of baseball. Judging by the crowd sizes at the games so have alot of other people.




Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: byron buxton, joe mauer, jorge polanco