The Runner Sports

Is There Anything To Learn From Twins’ Split With Royals?

The Minnesota Twins played two great games to start the series against the Kansas City Royals, coming back late in the first and holding down a Royals’ comeback in the second. It was safe to say they had their mojo back and that they were ready to catch the Yankees.

Then they played the second half of the series. They blew a lead in game number three and then got laughed out of town in the fourth. The offense managed a few home runs in these two games, but had little else to be happy about. On the mound, the team got a great start from José Berriós on Saturday, but the bullpen and Bartolo Colón all struggled.

So does this series teach us anything?

Well, it shows us that this team is not perfect. They aren’t the 2016 Twins that only won 59 games, as this team is capable of having a disappointing game, a phenomenon that’s only possible when you have confidence. But they also aren’t the team we saw in August that seemed capable of winning by 10 runs every time they took the field.

But we pretty much knew that already. After all, they’ve already won way more than 59 games, and if this team could always play like they played in August, then they would be right up there with the pre-losing streak Dodgers. So even if you were in denial when it came to the fact that this team is good, and certainly above average, but not tremendous, you hopefully have learned that now. For those fans who had accepted that reality, there is still something else to learn.

It’s okay if the Twins are just above average.

When the Twins wrapped up their three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays, they were in possession of the second Wild Card, sitting 2.5 games behind the Yankees and .5 games ahead of the Angels. It would be a safe assumption that 2-2 record over the next four days, when in the heart to of a pennant race, would hurt a team. Not the case. The Twins now sit one game ahead of the Angels and 3.5 behind the Yankees. Basically, nothing changed.

That’s the beautiful part of this year’s American League Wild Card race. With eight teams still in it with three weeks left in the season, there’s a lot of roughly .500, or average, teams in playoff contention. It stands to reason that a team that manages to play above .500, or above average, the rest of the way, then they have a good chance of emerging victorious in the playoff race.

The Twins are lucky too. If you are slightly better than the competition –currently the Angels are the only team within 2.5 games (unless Baltimore manages to stop the Cleveland juggernaut)– then you have less pressure to play above average.

In short, the Twins are pretty good, and probably only need to be pretty good to make the playoffs.

All that being said, it would be really nice if the Twins could play better than they have lately. The week ahead features six games against two teams that are well below .500. If the Twins struggle in these games, then we know that being okay with average is not going to be acceptable anymore.

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer is a lifelong Twins fan who spends most nights dreaming of learning a knuckleball and pitching them to a World Series victory.
Charlie Gillmer

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