Posted at 10:33 AM on June 8, 2007
by Steve Rudolph
After an impressive and unlikely rally in Anaheim on Wednesday afternoon, the Twins return to the Metrodome to begin a nine-game homestand.
Whether it was breaking camp with questionable veterans only to later replace them with younger talent or the early season struggles by some of the team’s top hitters, there have been several similarities between this season and last year. Maybe that’s why so many Twins fans are looking at the arrival of interleague play (where the Twins posted a MLB best 16-2 record last year) as the opportunity the 2007 Twins need to get back in the playoff chase.
It’s not going to happen. I’d be happy if the Twins just went 11-7 in interleague play this year.
I’m not saying the Twins are going to fall out of contention in the coming weeks. There just aren’t any indications that this team is ready to get on the kind of roll it did last year. And more importantly, their N.L. competition simply isn’t going to let it happen.
To finish 11-7 against the N.L., the Twins have to make hay this homestand. So they couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to fill the role of punching bag. Of late, the Washington Senators have put up about as much fight as their namesakes from Ottawa did during the Stanley Cup. Making this even better for the Twins is that they'll start the series with a resurgent Carlos Silva with Johan Santana set for Saturday.
After that, Atlanta and Milwaukee come to town. Both are decent teams. But both are struggling. The Braves have barely been playing .500 ball over the last six week and the Brewers seem to be doing what the Brewers always do – melting down in the intense June heat.
After the homestand the Twins travel to Shea Stadium to face the first-place Mets and then take on the hot-hitting Marlins in Miami.
If the Twins are within three or four games of the second-place Tigers when interleague play is done, I'll consider this a successful stretch. Is that asking for too much?