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Yes, the number in the title is not an exaggeration. The true odds of the moment we find ourselves in at the close of the Twins 2020 postseason campaign, brief as it was, comes to one in 69 billion. Somewhere in the galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox fired up the Improbability drive and Minnesota got caught in the wake. Let's do some math, shall we? Setting a baseline Now, there's a very good chance you've seen the number 262,144 floating around Twins Twitter in the last day or two, and that's because if you were to flip a coin 18 times, the odds of each flip resulting in the same outcome are 262,144:1 against, or 218. Already, this feels bad. This feels unfair. We want to fight against this statistic. BASEBALL GAMES AREN'T COIN FLIPS, I hear you cry out. So many of those games were as underdogs against the almighty Yankees, surely the odds weren't THAT bad? And yeah, from that perspective, you'd be correct. @Awoodruff3 on Twitter looked at the problem from a gambling odds perspective: https://twitter.com/awoodruff3/status/1311415416456085510 28,524:1 against! Already, this is 10 times as likely as the coin flip scenario, so the sting should only be a fraction of what we currently feel, right? Sadly, no. Here's how it really breaks down. The Methodology I have gone into the Fangraphs archives for each of the 18 games in the losing streak and made note of the moment in time where the Twins had the highest expected win probability. In 17 of the 18 games, the Twins were favored to win - and in a few cases, extremely favored - before eventually taking the L. With that information, we can look at the odds of losing from these moments where the Twins had the greatest amount of leverage to create a future other than the ones we find ourselves in now. October 6th, 2004: ALDS Game 2 [table] Game State Bottom 12th, 1 out, Twins ahead by 1 at New York Twins Win Probability 87.3% How'd things look? With Joe Nathan on the mound for his third inning of work, John Olerud strikes out and the Twins are 2 outs away from taking a 2-0 lead in the series. What happened? Nathan gives consecutive walks before A-Rod hits a ground rule double, followed by an intentional walk and a Matsui sac fly to win. Odds of a loss 7.87:1 against[/table] October 8th, 2004: ALDS Game 3 [table] Game State Top 2nd, 2 outs, Twins ahead by 1 vs. New York Twins Win Probability 64.5% How'd things look? Carlos Silva gets a ground ball out from Bernie Williams. It's still early, but teams in the lead tend to stay in the lead. What happened? Silva immediately gave up 5 consecutive singles and 3 runs before the 2nd inning was over, and the Twins never saw daylight again. Odds of a 2-game losing streak 22:1 against[/table] October 9th, 2004: ALDS Game 4 [table] Game State Bottom 7, 0 outs, Twins ahead by 4 vs. New York Twins Win Probability 97.0%(!) How'd things look? A-Rod concludes a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 7th by fouling out to first base. The Twins have retired 9 straight batters. What happened? Yankees tie the game in the top of the 8th on an RBI single and a 3-run homer, game goes to extra innings, Yankees take the lead in the 11th, Twins fans begin to wonder if this is the start of something dire. (Narrator: It is.) Odds of a 3-game losing streak 739:1 against[/table] October 3rd, 2006: ALDS Game 1 [table] Game State Bottom 1, 0 outs, tie game vs. Oakland Twins Win Probability 58.3% How'd things look? Luis Castillo leads off for the Twins with a walk. This would be as good as it got. What happened? Frank Thomas homers to take the lead in the 2nd, and despite the Twins making things interesting in the bottom of the 8th, they would never be favored again. Odds of a 4-game losing streak 1,773:1 against[/table] October 4th, 2006: ALDS Game 2 [table] Game State Bottom 6, 0 outs, tie game vs. Oakland Twins Win Probability 57.6% How'd things look? Down 2, the Twins start the bottom of the 6th with consecutive homers by Cuddy and Morneau to tie the game, and Oakland goes to the bullpen. What happened? Oakland responds in the 7th with 2 runs off an inside the park home run. Odds of a 5-game losing streak 4,181:1 against[/table] October 6th, 2006: ALDS Game 3 [table] Game State Top 2, 0 outs, tie game at Oakland Twins Win Probability 56.3% How'd things look? Morneau opens the 2nd with a double, with Torii Hunter on deck. What happened? Morneau doesn't score, Oakland opens up a 4-0 lead, and eventually win 8-3. Odds of a 6-game losing streak 9,569:1 against[/table] October 7th, 2009: ALDS Game 1 [table] Game State Top 3, 2 outs, Twins ahead by 2 at New York Twins Win Probability 68.7% How'd things look? Twins take a 2-0 lead when Joe Mauer scores on a Jorge Posada passed ball What happened? Yankees immediately tie the game on a Derek Jeter home run, and the Twins never score again. Yankees win 7-2. Odds of a 7-game losing streak 30,571:1 against[/table] October 9th, 2009: ALDS Game 2 [table] Game State Top 9, 0 outs, Twins ahead by 2 at New York Twins Win Probability 91.7% How'd things look? After the Twins take a 2 run lead in the top of the 8th, the Yankees go down 1-2-3, and Joe Mauer comes to the plate to open the 9th. What happened? Yankees tie it up in the bottom of the 9th, Joe Mauer hits a double in the 11th that Phil Cuzzi incorrectly rules foul, and settles for a single- only to be followed by 2 consecutive singles that would have scored him had the double stood. Instead, Mauer doesn't score, Yankees walk it off on a Mark Teixeira homer, and just typing out this sentence makes me want to die inside. Odds of an 8-game losing streak 368,333:1 against[/table] October 11th, 2009: ALDS Game 3 [table] Game State Top 7, 1 out, Twins ahead by 1 vs. New York Twins Win Probability 72.6% How'd things look? The Twins have struck first on an RBI single by Mauer, and the Yankees have responded with a Mark Teixeira groundout. What happened? Yankees immediately take the lead with home runs by A-Rod and Posada. Twins threaten to tie in the 8th with a leadoff Punto double, but fail to capitalize. Yankees win 4-1. Odds of a 9-game losing streak 1,344,281:1 against[/table] October 6th, 2010: ALDS Game 1 [table] Game State Top 6, 1 out, Twins ahead by 3 vs. New York Twins Win Probability 87.7% How'd things look? Francisco Liriano has only given up 2 hits to the Yankees, who are down three and open the 6th with a Nick Swisher strikeout. What happened? The wheels come off moments later as Lirano gives up a double, a wild pitch, 2 singles, and a triple to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. The Twins would later tie it, only to lose 6-4. Odds of a 10-game losing streak 10,929,120:1 against[/table] October 7th, 2010: ALDS Game 2 [table] Game State Bottom 3, 0 outs, Twins ahead by 1 vs. New York Twins Win Probability 66.5% How'd things look? Twins opened the scoring in the 2nd on a Danny Valencia sac fly, and the Yankees go down 1-2-3 in response. What happened? Yankees would later take a 2-1 lead before Orlando Hudson ties the game with a solo shot, but that tie doesn't last long. Yankees win 5-2. Odds of an 11-game losing streak 32,624,240:1 against[/table] October 9th, 2010: ALDS Game 3 [table] Game State Top 2, 0 outs, Twins tied at New York Twins Win Probability 50% How'd things look? This is the only game in the 18-game streak where the Twins were never favored. It remained 50/50 after both teams failed to accomplish anything in the first inning. What happened? Twins fall behind in the 2nd, and never get close, losing 6-1. Odds of a 12-game losing streak 65,248,481:1 against[/table] October 3th, 2017: AL Wild Card [table] Game State Top 1, 1 out, Twins ahead by 3 at New York Twins Win Probability 81.8% How'd things look? You remember this inning, right? Twins go into Yankee Stadium and immediately knock Luis Severino out of the game with homers by Brian Dozier and Eddie Rosario, followed by an Escobar single and a Kepler double. 3 run lead, 2 men on, only 1 out. We've got this. Yankees don't have a CHANCE. What happened? Buxton and Castro strike out to end the inning, Ervin Santana gives up the lead on a 3-run homer, Yankees win 8-4, and everyone in my generation starts to develop serious anxiety complexes revolving around who the hell we hurt to cause this. Odds of a 13-game losing streak 358,508,138:1 against[/table] October 4th, 2019: ALDS Game 1 [table] Game State Top 3, 2 out, Twins ahead by 2 at New York Twins Win Probability 67.1% How'd things look? Twins were already leading 1-0 when Nelson Cruz comes up big with a solo home run against James Paxton. What happened? As per usual, Twins lose the lead immediately. They tie things up in the 5th, but that also doesn't last. Twins lose 10-4. Odds of a 14-game losing streak 1,089,690,390:1 against[/table] October 5th, 2019: ALDS Game 2 [table] Game State Top 1, 1 out, Twins tied at New York Twins Win Probability 53.6% How'd things look? Inexplicably known as the Randy Dobnak game, the Twins were statistically favored for the briefest of moments when a HBP and a single put 2 men on in the first inning with only one out. What happened? Those baserunners are stranded on a double play, Yankees score first and never look back. Twins lose 8-2. Odds of a 15-game losing streak 2,348,470,670:1 against[/table] October 7th, 2019: ALDS Game 3 [table] Game State Bottom 2, 0 outs, Twins losing by 1 vs. New York Twins Win Probability 62.6% How'd things look? The only entry on this series where the Twins were favored while losing. Why? The Twins opened the 2nd inning by loading the bases with no outs. This is a scenario where you are highly likely to score multiple runs. What happened? They didn't. Odds of a 16-game losing streak 6,279,333,342:1 against[/table] September 29th, 2020: AL Wild Card Round Game 1 [table] Game State Bottom 5th, 0 outs, Twins ahead by 1 vs. Houston Twins Win Probability 78.4% How'd things look? Twins open the 5th with consecutive walks while already leading. What happened? Strikeout, pop fly, groundout. Twins twitter immediately fears the worst due to the failure to capitalize, and their fears are proven valid. Odds of a 17-game losing streak 29,070,987,697:1 against[/table] September 30th, 2020: AL Wild Card Round Game 2 [table] Game State Bottom 6th, 0 outs, Twins tied vs. Houston Twins Win Probability 57.9% How'd things look? After loading the bases in the first inning and still failing to score, the Twins have done very litte. Still, it's a tie game, and the Twins are coming up to bat as slight favorites. What happened? The bats continued to stay silent, and couldn't overcome a 2-run deficit in the 9th. I cried, and then began writing this article as a coping mechanism. Odds of a 18-game losing streak 69,052,227,309:1 against[/table] Conclusions https://twitter.com/GoTwinkiesGo/status/1311406223019790336
In the immortal words of Michael Jordan, "I'm back." Consider this the Wizards portion of my blogging career. It's all been the Wizards portion, so it should be easy to adjust. Before the season started, I made 11 BOLD predictions. I had planned to make those predictions after the season, but the jagwagons who run the blogging cabal said that I had to make predictions before things actually happen. This will adversely affect my accuracy, but apparently that wasn't important. At this moment, I would like to take a fond look back at my original 11 predictions. If you didn't read these predictions back in March, well...what's wrong with you? I worked hard on those predictions. I didn't sleep for days. I ate nothing but Lemonheads and BBQ sunflower seeds. That's my normal diet, but the sleeping part really sucked. Here's the post if you missed it, but I expect some level of sympathy as you read. Support local arts in the future, you monster. Prediction #1 - Sam Deduno will be voted King of Minnesota Most people grow out of their sarcasm faze after they leave high school. Some people just can't help themselves. Obviously, Minnesota does not have a King. Sam Deduno is not royalty. I was all annoyed by his disproportionately popular status and I took to my blog to knock him down a peg. Now he's gone. I wrote a song for him almost twenty years ago to apologize. I stole most of the lyrics, didn't sing it, and I didn't write it either. . Prediction #2 - Kevin Correia will be traded by the end of the season *swish sound* That was a lay-up, but one of those lay-ups that is more of a finger roll because you have too much time on the fast break and you get in your own head and forget that the backboard exists. One of those. We all knew Correia would be traded. Had he been just a complete disaster, he might have been simply released, but that was unlikely because he had been serviceable for so many years. Now, he might get a ring with the Dodgers. A promise ring. Prediction #3 - Eddie Rosario and Trevor May will not make their MLB debuts I choose to see this prediction as half-correct instead of half-incorrect. I am an optimist. Although, I am concerned that this half-correct prediction could ruin my karma and leave me prone to a bee attack. Rosario was a bit of a lay-up. The easy kind, backboard and whatnot. May was a lot better at AAA than I was expecting and some of the guys who I thought could be ahead of him on the depth chart were unimpressive. I'm glad I was wrong about May, even if his first season with the Twins did not go well. Prediction #4 - Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer and Danny Santana will make their MLB debuts I choose to see this prediction as half-weaksauce. Santana was outstanding (just wait for my year-end POWER RANKINGS later this week). Meyer was great at AAA but he's really tall so the Twins chose to keep him out of the clubhouse. At least, that's how I perceive it. And it's best not to talk about Buxton because my keyboard is not tears-resistant. Also, in the original piece, I actually predicted that Bryon Buxton would make his MLB debut in 2014 which would have been super impressive because he is not a baseball player. Prediction #5 - Pedro Florimon out, Eduardo Escobar in NAILED IT! OH GOD I NAILED IT! ADMIT IT, I NAILED IT! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! WHOOOO! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Please ignore the second part where I compared Escobar to Yokozuna and thought he would then lose his job shortly thereafter. I NAILED IT! Prediction #6 - Josmil Pinto will replace Kurt Suzuki as the full-time catcher by June Can a prediction be superwrong? Ron Gardenhire couldn't handle Josmil Pinto's machismo and toothpick flicking, so he got relegated to a bench role. In addition, Kurt Suzuki decided to have a season where he actually hit baseballs for the first time since Nixon was still kicking around. I'm not sure if that's accurate, but I do know that Pinto has taken up permanent residence in Gardy's doghouse, Suzuki's luster is going to wear off and the 2016 Twins will likely feature Henry Blanco as the starting catcher. I'm not bitter, I just want everyone involved in the decision to hold down Pinto to feel an intense burn when Pinto has 55 home runs for the A's in 2017. Of course, I predict that MLB will replace baseballs with superballs in 2016, so I'm not sure if 55 home runs will be a lot or not. Intense burns regardless. Prediction #7 - Phil Hughes will be better than Ricky Nolasco I'm so proud of this one, I got a vanity license plate. It's worth the many tickets. Prediction #8 - Oswaldo Arcia will finish the season with 55+ extra-base hits My most arbitrary prediction, I honestly cannot remember where I came up with the number 55. I thought 20-25 home runs (right) and 30-35 doubles (wrong). I didn't think he'd spend as much time with Rochester as he did and it took him a long time to get going at the plate. Even so, his 36 extra-base hits in 102 games would translate to just about 55 extra-base hits given a full season. I wasn't THAT far off when you start doing annoying math. Arcia's low batting average overshadows some improvements that I saw from him this season. He walked more, he hit for more power, and he slugged almost .550 in August and September. I think he's a cornerstone player, even if his defense can best be described as "whaaaaaa?" Prediction #9 - Joe Mauer will win his 4th batting title Judging my Twitter, I am going to say this did not happen. I have also learned from Twitter that Joe Mauer might be overpaid, he might be in the decline, he might be soft and he might be pure evil. I can't confirm any of this in 140 characters. Prediction #10 - Chris Colabello will hit more home runs for the Twins than Josh Willingham Willingham 12 - Colabello 6. It was closer than it should have been. Willingham did get traded, as I predicted. He did struggle to hit home runs, as I predicted. Colabello did force his way to the Majors, as I predicted. The rest is fuzzy and I'm pretty sure Colabello was abducted by aliens who needed a Spanish translator for all their aliens who actually did something valuable for their alien baseball team. Prediction #11 - The Twins will win at least 75 games The "at least" was probably overkill. Now, if the season ended today, the Twins would win 70 games. But, there's still...wait...what?...oh. The season's over. I did not notice that. That's on me. The Twins fell short of 75 wins and that is sad. Their starting pitching was somewhere between "dreadful" and "not cool" and their defense was funny, but not funny "ha-ha." Their offense was actually in the top-half in the AL and their Pythagorean record was closer to 74-75 wins. All I really care about is what could have happened, not what did happen, so this confirms my prediction. Predictions, huh? Yeah, not great. I tried my best though. I predict that I will make more predictions before the 2015 season. I'm here for the long haul. I'm going to write so much Twins nonsense this offseason, your head is going to spin. Other heads will roll. Some heads will just maintain a healthy tilt.