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Four Ways For Twins To Stay Above .500
- Updated: April 19, 2017
After starting the season 4-0, the Minnesota Twins have lost seven of their last 10 and have fallen to 7-7 on the year. When they take the field Wednesday, their mission will not only be to win, but to extend the time since their last losing record. I know four ways to ensure this does not happen:
Trevor Bauer’s Weakness
This first method is a simple one. The first thing the Twins have to do is take Trevor Bauer on a drone flying adventure. Cleveland’s starter in Wednesday’s game is a noted drone enthusiast, so if the team hires a guide to take him to the best flying areas in the Twin Cities I don’t think he will be able to resist.
The next step would be to take him someplace where his drone is sure to run into trouble. I know approximately nothing about these devices, but I would assume the wind tunnels that form over the Mississippi could cause some problems for him and his flying machine. However it is done, I don’t really care, but someone will make sure that Bauer’s drone crashes. Then, he’ll have to repair it.
Bauer famously injured himself in the ALCS last season when he sliced open his finger on his drone and later bled on the mound. I assume he is always that clumsy. If he wasn’t careful during the ALCS, then he probably won’t be careful before the 15th game of the season. Then again, he may have learned his lesson from last time. If that’s the case, a clubhouse attendant can just nudge him a bit and make sure something goes wrong. Just wrong enough that he has to miss one start.
After that, Cleveland will be forced to run out a parade of relievers. It’s too early in the season to make starters go on short rest, and it will be too late in the day for a Minor Leaguer to be called up for a spot start. Cleveland’s bullpen is phenomenal, but if the relievers are taxed enough there will be opportunities for the Twins to make something happen.
Joe Mauer’s Birthday
Today is Joe Mauer’s 34th birthday. The man who was once one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball is now pretty old, and not nearly as good as he used to be. You know what that sounds like? The perfect recipe for a mid-life crisis. Sure, Mauer has never been especially wild, nor is 34 that old in the grand scheme of things. But, Mauer may be holding down a lot of energy and craziness, and 34 is beyond mid-life in terms of a baseball career. He’s due to unleash a bit.
If his teammates do their part in reminding him how old he is, I think we’ll see the best Mauer yet. He’ll start swinging harder and hitting the ball out of the park like he did back in 2009. He’ll play with so much abandon that he’ll start stealing bases, making diving catches, and maybe even pitching if things get really crazy. This might be a lot to hope for, but I see it coming.
Bunt, Bunt, Bunt
Last night, Cleveland showed that throwing the ball in the infield can be hard, a lesson presumably learned from Jon Lester in last year’s World Series. Three throwing errors in the infield gave the Twins some chances to score. They never capitalized, but that can change tonight. If the Twins just keep forcing infield throws by bunting every time they step up to the plate then good things are bound to come their way. Plus, with all the speed in the lineup, things could get even better. Cleveland will be rushing throws, and steals, pickoffs, and double play attempts will all have an extra weight. Minnesota just needs to turn this game into a track meet and they will get their winning record back.
Play a Good Game
This last one may be a bit of a stretch, but the Twins could try to play better than they did these last few days. For instance, they had plenty of chances with men on base Tuesday, but ended up leaving eight runners stranded. This obviously needs to be fixed. Just one or two more hits with runners in scoring position will go a long way.
Last night also showed the importance of getting the bullpen on track. Phil Hughes was not good in his start, but five more runs were allowed by the bullpen in 6 2/3 innings. Even if the Twins had done more with those runners on base, it wouldn’t have been much better because the deficit just kept growing. Last night was by far the worst pitching game of the season, so there is no reason for concern just yet, but I would hate to see this become a problem.
There we have it. One of those plans, or possibly some combination of the four will get the Twins back above .500 and the season back on track.