Thursday (The Twins, the road, and a long home stretch) edition: Wha' Happened?
- Blog Post by: Michael Rand
- June 9, 2011 - 10:43 AM
If there is one card that winning six of their last seven games has allowed the Twins to now attempt to play, it is this: an astonishing 31 of their next 41 games are scheduled to be played at Target Field. That includes the next 10 games, starting tonight against Texas. It also includes a nine-game home stand before the All-Star break and a 12-game stand coming out of the break (three four-game series, all against the AL Central, including one series with Cleveland involving a double-header).
This card does not trump bilateral leg weakness, other assorted maladies, a shaky bullpen, an anemic offense, a muddled middle infield and all the other things that have ailed the Twins this year.
But the fact remains that the Twins have remarkably played only 21 games at home this season, while playing 40 on the road. No other team in the American League has played fewer than 28 home games. Kansas City has played 40 home games already. It is a crazy disparity, plain and simple.
Yes, their home mark is currently terrible (6-15), meaning they have actually played better on the road (17-23). But much of that home mark was compiled while the team was playing awful baseball. Even with a lot of the same issues that plagued them earlier in the year still eating away at them, the Twins are no longer playing awful baseball.
They are not playing "hop on the bandwagon" baseball yet, but we will say this: After winning six of their last seven on the road, and gaining five games in the AL Central standings on Cleveland, there at least exists the sliver of potential for meaningful games far deeper into the season than was imaginable one week ago. Even with all their flaws. Even with Joe Mauer approaching two months out of the lineup (Sunday is the big anniversary from the last game he played, April 12) ... it is not crazy to think the Twins could be, say, 7 or 8 games back at the break if they could go, say 18-11 over their next 29 games (19 of which will be played at Target Field). That would put them at 41-49. The 200
23 Twins were 44-49 at the break, 7.5 games behind the leader. They won their first five games at home coming out of it, and ended up winning 90 to take a weak division.
This is a weak division once again for the taking. The margin for error is thin -- that's what happens when you still have the worst record in baseball. They can't keep doing it with smoke and mirrors. They need their big-time players to be healthy and productive. But the opportunity, however crazy it sounds, could still be there over these next 41 games.
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