As noted on Twitter on Wednesday by Aaron Gleeman, the Twins are now at the 100-game mark of their season, and this is how their record in 2014 compares to their records at that milestone each of the past three years (all of which, of course, ended in 96 losses or more):
We don’t believe his intent to was to demonstrate that the Twins have been improving over the past couple of years. Rather, we imagine it was designed as a warning to those of us trying to extrapolate and figure out where this team might wind up at the start of the year.
None of those 100-game records are good, but combined they add up to a .448 winning percentages and paces to win about 73 games. Again, not good. That means 89 losses. But far better than what happened over the final 62 games each of the last three years:
2011: 16-46 (final record 63-99)
2012: 24-38 (final record 66-96)
2013: 22-40 (final record 66-96)
That adds up to 62 wins and 124 losses after reaching the 100-game mark each of the past three seasons. That’s one win for every two losses, or a .333 winning percentage. So you can see that whether by injuries, a stiffening schedule or just the general malaise that can befall a team with nothing left to play for but pride, bad Twins teams have turned into historically awful teams right at this magic mark each of the last three years.
How important is it for the Twins to avoid a similar fate this year? It depends on how you look at it, we suppose. The difference between finishing with, say, 68 wins (going 22-40 down the stretch) or 75 wins (going 29-33) means more to perception than anything else.
It’s been our belief that while 75 wins would not be a “good” year, it would at least be some measure of progress from the putrid finishing marks of the past three seasons. It would allow fans to say, “That wasn’t as bad as it has been, and it should be getting even better.” How they finish could play a role in how they evaluate their front office, their manager and their coaching staff.
So yes, we’d say these final 62 are very important. Maintaining at least their current pace wouldn’t be great, but it would be an improvement. Sliding back would mean nothing has changed — and might mean a lot of things have to change.