You know about the Minnesota Twins’ terrible start to the season. You’ve seen some of the numbers and facts – and the palm-to-forehead smacks at Target Field if you’re a ticket-holder. We're not trying to rub it in, but with a quarter of the season now in the books, we decided it was time to inspect just how bad this start really is, beyond the repeated “worst start in franchise history” chorus.
The Star Tribune Sports team on Sunday will feature a robust examination of the franchise, asking and answering to various degrees: What went wrong? Look for it online Saturday and in Sunday’s editions.
Before then, here's a deeper look at this “worst start,” and what history tells us about what we can expect at the ballpark come June, July, August … oy, maybe we shouldn’t think about all that.
As of May 25 in each season going back to 1980, it's clear this is indeed the worst Twins' start. But not only that -- it's also the single biggest year-to-year change the team has seen. Last year at this time, the Twins were winning almost 60 percent of games. This year, it's less than half that. Perhaps that's why this year feels especially terrible, given that last year was really pretty good.
That year-to-year plummet is also the biggest change among all MLB teams, when comparing up to May 25 each year. We may just be changing our allegiances to the Cubs.
One small piece of good news is that if you look all the way back to 1900, this year's start for the Twins is not among the worst. It does rank 32nd, though.
Here's a chart showing the worst team as of May 25 for each season dating back to 1980. Of teams with less than .300 by that date, the good news is they usually improve by season's end. The bad news is they usually don't crack .500. Including this year, the Twins make the list three times. Let's just hope we don't have a multi-year slump like the Royals or Devil Rays.
Finally, if you're curious about how some other teams ranked by this quarter-season date in past seasons, look up either a year or team to see their win percentage and rank in this handy look-up table.