The streak, as you are almost certainly aware, is 18 games.
That's how many consecutive losses, dating back to 2004, the Twins have suffered in the postseason. That's the longest playoff losing streak in the history of major North American sports, and if it keeps you up at night thinking about it then imagine how Twins general manager Thad Levine feels.
As the co-architect along with Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey of teams that have reached the playoffs in three of the four years they have been in charge — teams that have been responsible for six of those 18 straight playoff losses — Levine is more than aware of the streak.
On Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast, Levine talked through the Twins' offseason moves, tried to assure me (contrary to what I have written) that the Twins have enough pitching not just for now but for when it really matters and talked enthusiastically about a roster that is built to win in more diversified ways than perhaps it was in past seasons.
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Here are some highlights from Levine's appearance, with plenty more good stuff on the podcast:
*On the challenge of playing without fans in 2020 and how it feels down in Florida to at least have a couple thousand fans at spring games: "Our team really thrives off of the emotions of the fans. We are a little bit of an emotional team. We play with some personality, some enthusiasm, some emotion. I think when you are required to generate that singularly by yourself it proves to be a pretty daunting task. I think the fans' presence — and you mentioned it was a limited crowd here — quite frankly it could have been a capacity crowd in (players') minds. Just seeing people walk though the gates, seeing the enthusiasm and hearing the crowd noise throughout the game I think really energized our players and will have a real positive impact for our guys."
*On the slow start to acquiring players in the offseason: "You said the fans and yourself got a little bit impatient. I have a 10, now 11-year-old son who was giving me the stink-eye every morning asking what the heck I was doing at work. ... I got that pressure put on me every day from one of the No. 1 Twins fans in my life. ... I think ultimately where we arrived we feel very good."
*On adding shortstop Andrelton Simmons and what that means not only for the defense over 162 games but possibly in October: "I think we viewed our team as very talented and very strong. The blessing for us as we're trying to put together the final touches on a championship team is we're starting from such a great jumping off point. So there really weren't too many ways in our estimation to improve the team. I do think we felt defense was one way we could do so. ... Bringing in weapons that can contribute in different facets of the game I think allows for us to win games by preventing runs and not always having to win games by creating runs. And so during facets of the season, and one of those as you illuminated could be the playoffs, when it's very difficult to come by offensive bursts, being able to prevent that extra run from crossing the plate could be the difference between winning and losing.
On whether the Twins have enough pitching: "I think you're hitting on a point that's a valid question probably each and every year but never more so than this season. I think one of the things we're really struggling with is trying to understand coming off a short season last year where our standard-bearers from an innings pitched standpoint, (Kenta) Maeda and (Jose) Berrios both accumulated in the mid-60s innings pitched. In a traditional year, we would view it as particularly concerning to ask a pitcher who only accumulated 65 innings to jump up to 180 innings. ... Like almost every front office, we walked into this offseason thinking, 'If in doubt, add more pitching' because you just never know where you're going to need it. Hence the additions of guys like Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ. I think we're really bullish on our starting rotation as it currently sits for opening day. What we're also equally excited about is the guys we might have starting at Double-A and Triple-A. ... Our goal as you referenced is to stay strong through the finish of the season because we have aspirations to play well into October. If we're going to do that, we're going to have to get creative as to how we deploy our pitching throughout the course of the year. We think we have the personnel to do it, but I think time will tell if we are accurate on that front."
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