Everything has a way of evening out.
That’s the beauty of a 162-game baseball season. They claim that the NFL has “parity” because there are often surprise teams who make or miss the playoffs, but much of that is the function of a season that is less than one-tenth the length of an MLB season, whereby a two-game swing — which might be a two-play swing — can be the difference between success and failure.
In baseball, though, there is no place to hide. The Twins and their fans are getting a pretty good lesson in that — good and bad — this season.
Every one of their actions seems to have an equal and opposite reaction. On the micro level, they experienced that this weekend at Target Field against Seattle.
On Saturday, the Twins were gift-wrapped a victory in a game they really had no business winning. Their first two runs (the second tying the game with two outs in the ninth) came on wild pitches, while the third was a baserunner who was intentionally walked in the ninth.
On Sunday, they lost a game they had every reason to think they might win — getting eight shutout innings from Mike Pelfrey to set up a revamped bullpen to succeed. And just as they were gifted a victory Saturday, they gave it right back a day later by walking the first two batters in the key three-run 11th inning.
The drama of close wins and losses shows up on the macro level as well. The Twins are 14-14 in one-run games this season. They are 5-4 in games decided on a walk-off (getting ahead in that column Saturday); they are 4-5 in extra-inning games (falling behind in that column Sunday).
They are experiencing the ebb and flow with closer Glen Perkins, who was a perfect 28-for-28 in save opportunities before the break but has been lit up since then (two blown saves and two losses, not to mention being spared the loss Sunday when Brian Dozier’s home run temporarily saved the Twins).
And the length of the season has shown up in the prolonged uneven stretches of play. If this was football, the Twins’ season would have been over after a 1-6 start. Instead, they followed that up with a 29-13 burst that put them among baseball’s best. Since then, they have crashed down to earth with a 24-31 stretch.
Taken alone, those chunks of games make us think the Twins are really bad, really good or simply mediocre. The sum of those parts, however, is just the beauty of the game. Add it all up, and time will tell a baseball team exactly what it is.