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No longer Central Parked: Winning division not enough this year for the Twins

  • Blog Post by: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson
  • August 18, 2010 - 11:20 AM

The goal is to make this blog a combination of sports and entertainment. In other words, to quote a recent Seth Meyers joke, it'll be like a Kardashians' bedroom. 

The goal is to also make this entry better than either: a) the David Hasselhoff Comedy Central Roast, or b) this recent argument as to why Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was wrong in removing Kevin Slowey from a no-hitter on Sunday (scroll down one story).

Jason Whitlock I'm not, but I'm sure I can top one.

In recent postseasons, the Twins have been more Slowey article-like than Hasselhoff Roast-like. They are 3-16 in their last 19 playoff games; 0-3 in playoff series vs. New York, having been outscored 52-29. Overall, they have a nine-game playoff losing streak. All of those ugly numbers aside, this is the year for the Twins to win a postseason series for the first time since 2002. If they do, this season can be deemed a success. If not, this season should be considered a failure. Yes, it's that simple. It would be foolish to expect the Twins to win the World Series, or even the American League pennant, but expecting a series win is reasonable. Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, and Brian Duensing are different enough to form a lethal enough 1-2-3 punch. With the way the Twins are playing, setting up their postseason roster should be an attainable goal.

In many ways, the Twins are "all-in" for this season. Next year's team may be without many of this years' significant contributors, including soon-to-be free agents Pavano, Orlando Hudson, Jim Thome, Jon Rauch, Matt Guerrier, and Jesse Crain. And while Joe Nathan will be on the roster, it is hard to predict what he will be able to provide coming off Tommy John surgery.  

That's why this year is the Twins' best chance to win in October. First, in spite of Justin Morneau's absence, the Twins have the best record in baseball since the All-Star break at 22-8. The behind-the-scenes word is Morneau is NOT expected to miss the rest of the season. Second, let's be realistic: with the easier remaining schedule, and their dominance in the head-to-head matchups, the Twins will win the division over Chicago. In fact, the White Sox shouldn't even be the Twins' first concern. That distinction should go to the Texas Rangers. With the wild-card winner undoubtedly coming from the East, if the Central division winner finishes with a better record than Texas, they will have home-field advantage in the divisional series. 

Forget the hype about Gophers coach Tim Brewster trying to beat Wisconsin for the first time, or Brett Favre playing another former team (the Jets), or Mike Russo blogging 27 times per day from Finland. This is the year for the Twins to dominate the local sports landscape for a couple of weeks, not a couple of days, in October.

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