Posted at 11:02 AM on August 6, 2007
by Steve Rudolph
Perhaps my recent declaration that the Twins season was unofficially over was a tad premature. However, I would still warn Twins fans against spending too much time scouting out the parade route.
Yes, the team has cut its deficit in the A.L. Central in half to just 4 ½ games in barely a week’s time. I’m glad to see it. I love watching meaningful baseball games in August and September and enjoy the thrill of a pennant race.
But let’s look at the facts before we get too giddy.
Since the All-Star break, the Twins are only 12-10. That’s not exactly the pace of a playoff-bound team. Remember last year’s team? They were playing nearly .700 ball after the break.
Fortunately for the Twins, the Indians and Tigers have struggled, keeping the Twins within striking distance. Unfortunately for the team, there are three other teams in the wild card race (New York, Seattle and Toronto) and it might be easier to win the Central than earn the wild card spot.
The Twins are done playing New York and Toronto, but will face Seattle six times beginning next week. Those games loom large as the Mariners appear to have the easiest schedule of the contending teams.
Although the relative ease or difficulty of the schedule won’t matter if the Twins can't find a way to score more runs. The team is 45-14 when it scores four or more runs and 12-37 when it scores less than three. It's time for Mauer, Cuddyer, Morneau and Hunter to play like they were at the end of 2006.
After today, the Twins will face the Indians and Tigers six more times and those teams play each other eight times. If the Twins could get hot, the division is there's for the taking. A fact that makes their inability to add a veteran hitter even more disappointing.