As much as the excitement of Opening Day inspired some folks to wax poetic about the Twins chances in 2008, the brutal beatdown administered by the Angels in game 2 of the season seems to have put people into a collective state of shell-shock.
Or maybe it's that people realize that one game in April isn't going to make or break the Twins season. Let me point out the following examples:
- In 1999, the Twins won two of three in their season-opening series against Toronto. By the end of May, the club had struggled through four separate losing streaks of 5 or more games and was mired in last place. April 8 was the high-water mark of the year, being the only day all season that the club was over .500 and the only day the team held even a share of first place. They finished the year with a 1-1 rainout with two games left unplayed, at 63-97, in last place.
- In 1982, the Twins opened the Metrodome with an 11-7 loss, but bounced back to win three straight and briefly hold sole possession of first place in the AL West with a 3-1 record. Again, late April and May took their tolls as fatigue and long road trips combined to show the club's true colors -- three five-game losing streaks were sandwiched around a 14-game losing streak, and again the club was mired in last place, this time en-route to a 102-loss season.
I've picked the Twins to do poorly, but there are examples the other way as well:
- 2006, you probably know about; the club dropped five of six on a season-opening road trip, then proceeded to play Jeckyl-and-Hyde baseball for about two months, exchanging winning and losing streaks of four and five games at a time. The low-water mark was probably May 24, after an 11-0 shellacking at the hands of CC Sebathia and the Indians that left the club in fourth place, twelve games out of first. They played 76-40 ball the rest of the way, and won the division on the final day of the season as Carlos Silva helped hold the White Sox to one run (and the Tigers lost in KC).
- In 1991, newly-acquired Jack Morris lost the season opener and the club went into a seven-game tailspin in April led off by a 15-9 slugfest with the Angels leaving them 2-9 on the morning of April 21. The Twins duelled their way through May, but the month of June coincided with the start of a 15-game win streak, fueled in part by the pitching of Scott Erickson (though it was actually Allan Anderson that won the first game of the streak) which left the Twins in first place, a position they'd hold or share the rest of the way en-route to their second World Series win in five seasons.
Current Pythagorean predicted record: 55-107