The Runner Sports

Twins Back In The Thick Of It

That headline should not be a surprise. Every time the Minnesota Twins have struggled this season they have bounced back. But their most recent drop in production felt different: it was more prolonged than previous swoons and coincided with hot streaks from Cleveland and Kansas City. Through it all, the Twins fell to their worst record of the season and traded away their closer and their biggest acquisition of the season.

Now here we are on August 9, and the Twins are laughing at us. We had counted them out, we had started having conversations about which other teams we would quietly cheer for in the playoffs this year and whether or not Brian Dozier would get traded.

But then Brian Dozier did this.

Not only did he hit a go ahead grand slam, the first of his career, en route to a third straight come from behind victory for the team, he also galloped into the dugout afterward and nearly broke all of his teammates’ hands in the celebration. This was not just a grand slam, this was a sign that this team is playing with the confidence to prove all the doubters wrong.

After a week of middling baseball, the Twins are playing like a legitimate contender, with all parts of the team clicking. The bullpen has still given up a meager three earned runs on the month and the starting pitching has not let things get out of control. The defense struggled in Monday’s game, committing three errors and leading Ervin Santana to allow two unearned runs, but still had a stellar defensive play in the first inning.

Best of all, the offense that was holding the team back in the last few weeks has become unstoppable. Whether it was Eddie Rosario causing a balk to score the go ahead run on Monday, or the home run barrage of Tuesday, this offense is succeeding in small ball and the long ball right now, and seems to be seeing every pitch well. They will not need to hit five homers, including a grand slam, and score eleven runs like they did on Tuesday, but every player in the lineup has produced over the last few games, which suggests a small cooling off will still leave the offense in good shape.

All told, the Twins are now only 1.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. Sure, that spot is currently occupied by three teams, and the Baltimore Orioles are right there with the Twins, but the Twins are very much in position to move further up the standings. Especially with the Royals struggling, two more games against the Brewers, and the next series against the Tigers, who are playing much worse than when the Twins last saw them.

It’s great. We always knew the Twins were not that far out of it, but the mood around the team sure made it feel that way. Things have changed for the better now, so if you left the bandwagon, it is time to apologize and hop back on. Or you could stay off, because it seems this team likes playing when they are doubted the most.

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