Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
Twins fans wanted to wake up this morning cocky with a 10-game winning streak, which would have included the first two games against Tampa Bay.
All parts of the game have come up a bit short and the Twins have dropped the first two games -- having chances but failing to take advantage of them. Brian Duensing picked up a case of Liriano-in-June Tuesday night, thens settled down after giving up those three first-inning runs, and Matt Guerrier went walk-walk-POW after the Twins had cobbled together enough offense to tie the game at 3.
Did anyone else wonder why Guerrier was allowed to face B.J. Upton after walking two batters with in the new-and-deeper bullpen at the ready?
Here's the reality: The Twins are good enough to win the AL Central. After they escape from Tampa Bay, the Twins are done with the clearly superior teams of the East. Chicago has 10 left against the Yankees and Red Sox; Detroit, becoming increasing less relevant, has four with the Yankees and three with the Rays on its schedule.
So the schedule favors the Twins.
But that's the same game Twins fans have been playing ever since they became accustomed to postseason play.
Good enough to get there? Yes.
Good enough to be excited? Yes.
Good enough for the World Series? Next question.
The Twins feel like a 13th seed in March Madness. Anything can happen when you get to October, but don't be foolish enough to bet on it.
You have to decide if you're OK with that.
I mean, I know what I'll be writing come October if the Twins win the division: Anything can happen... Here's how it could happen... On any given day... Veteran presence that didn't exist in previous seasons... Youngsters stepping up... Someone carrying the team on his shoulders.
I'll write that it's no sure thing, but who knows what could happen with a run of excellent baseball.
That's not the same as having a shutdown ace at the top of the rotation and showing during the regular season -- by its record against the other top teams -- that they should be taken more seriously than in the past. I mean, cut it any way you want, but that's a 2-12 postseason record in the last four Octobers and 5-12 this season against the Red Sox/Yankees/Rays.
Call me misguided, but I will choose to be excited about the chase. I choose to recall the mad dash at the end of 2009 and Game 163 -- watching in a rural Ohio bar as the Twins won a key final-week game and sitting way high up in the Dome for the extra game -- more than being swept by the Yankees.
But if you choose to feel otherwise -- grumpy and let down by what's happening (and what hasn't happened) in 2010 -- I totally understand.
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