Five reasons to keep the hope alive for the Twins

The finishing line of the 2009 season is closing and the Twins are taking the final turn 5 games behind the Detroit Tigers and one game behind the White Sox (in the loss column) in the standings. Based on the 5 games difference from the Tigers and the acquisitions of Jake Peavy and Alex Rios by the White Sox, Twins' fans are about ready to throw in the towel (or the hanky), if not done already. Being the eternal optimist, here are 5 reasons why the Twins can and will win the AL Central this season:

  1. The Twins are 5 games behind the Tigers, but have 6 games against them. The Twins have their next 3 games against the Kansas City Royals at home, while the Tigers are hosted by the Boston Red Sox. A sweep both ways, will make the difference in the standings 2 games

  2. The Peavy trade will hurt the White Sox this season. Effectively the White Sox Replaced 11 starts by Clayton Richars (4.52 ERA, 1.398 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, 1.69 K/BB as a starter in 2009) with 4 or 5 starts by Jake Peavy (4.60 ERA, 1.277 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 2.73 K/BB away from Petco in 2009; 3.94 ERA, 1.563 WHIP, 9 K/9, 4 K/BB against the AL in 2008 the last time he pitched against the AL) and 6 or 7 starts of the likes of Carlos Torres (6.75 ERA, 1.929 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 0.89 K/BB). Overall, even if Peavy returns from his injury in perfect shape, this is a net loss for this season for the White Sox

  3. The Rios acquisition seems great in the books (they got an "all-star" "5-tool" player for nothing other than picking up his inflated contract), until one looks at his numbers this season compared to the ones of the player he is replacing, Scott Podsednik. Rios' defense is considered superior; however this season he has a -1.3 UZR/150 at RF, while the player whom he replaces, Podsednick has a 6.6 UZR/150 at CF. Arguably, CF is a harder position to play, as well. How about his bat? Coincidentally, Podsednick and Rios have exactly the same OPS (.744), however for a top of the order player, Podsednick's OBP (.351 in 2009) is more preferable than Rios' (.317 in 2009). One good thing about this trade is that the White Sox will have 4 good outfielders and Podsednick is superior to Dewayne Wise, Jerry Owens and the like on the bench. Very slight difference this season, if any, either way, for the Sox with this trade, but the trade is potentially good for the long run, if Rios proves healthy and returns to his All-star form of 3 seasons ago

  4. The Twins' acquisitions have paid dividends so far. Orlando Cabrera is on a mad tear hitting .361/.378/.611 (.989 OPS) from the number 2 hole of the lineup. He replaces there Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert who hit .155/.223/.184 (.408 OPS) and .179/.277/.214 (.491 OPS) respectively at the #2 spot. This is more than .100 points difference in the OBP and at least double OPS. Carl Pavano has only one start, but his start was a. exceptional and b. one of the most important wins for the Twins this season. He probably has 11 more starts taken from Glen Perkins. That change would probably give the Twins at least 2-3 more wins, conservatively.

  5. You probably cannot tell, by just watching games, but the Twins as a team are actually trending better lately both in batting and pitching. Here are the numbers for the last month:

    • Batting:

      • season: .768 OPS
      • last 14 days: .818 OPS
      • last 7 days: .834 OPS

    • Pitching:

      • season: 6.3 K/9, 2.23 K/BB
      • last 14 days: 6.4 K/9, 2.42 K/BB
      • last 7 days: 7.2 K/9, 3.00 K/BB

    The problem has been that bats and arms show up on different days sometimes, but the presence of two new veteran with World Series rings in the club, might help getting things going more consistently from now on... and definitely there is a challenge for Ron Gardenhire and his coaching staff to take advantage of the situation and keep everyone on the team focused


Erin said...

I'd like to be optimistic, I really would. Under normal circumstances, I would be happy about a homestand against the Royals and Indians. Except that Kansas City always manages to play like the Yankees against teams with some hope of contending. Cleveland seems bound and determined to ruin it for somebody this year, too.

thrylos98 said...

We'll see. I think my message is that the opportunity is still there, the team looks like they are playing better lately, but they have to pick it up and get their act together and execute to make that happen. No let downs. Every game is critical and better be ready to win every game...

Anonymous said...

"The Twins are 2-7 in their past nine games and have given up an average of 9.0 runs in those seven losses."

"You probably cannot tell, by just watching games, but the Twins as a team are actually trending better lately both in batting and pitching."


Matt in SoDak said...

So, I am assuming that the claim process fell through. Will you be able to divulge who the "unknown" was?

thrylos98 said...


All I can say is that he is a reliever in an AL team

Juanie said...

Unfortunately, after 110+ games this year, the Twins have showed me very little that they could finish the remainder of the season on say a 30-20 record (which may actually be enough to win this terrible division). That means 3-4 times out of 5, the starting pitcher has to give this team at least a chance to win. How is a rotation of Baker, Blackburn, Liriano, Pavano, and Swarzak going to do this?

thrylos98 said...


Liriano was solid yesterday. Baker has been mostly ok, has Pavano. Blackburn is on a down curve and Swarzak inconsistent. They can do it, but I am not sure that a 30-20 record is needed. They are 4 and 2 games back and playing with the Tigers and Sox 6 games. They got to pick it up and see every game like game 163 now...