The first example of this, of course, is late 2009. The Twins were substantially behind the Detroit Tigers, yet without Justin they managed to surge and catch them. Eventually, they win game 163 and went on to
It really seems that, despite the numbers saying the team should be better with Morneau in the lineup (except this year of course!) the team isn't truly better with Morneau.
Now, let us flash forward to last year. This team started out very strong, lead by career numbers being posted by none other than Mr. Morneau. However, a couple months into the season, they begin to falter, as a Chicago team that was at this point all but out of the race begins to surge. Morneau gets the season ending concussion; the Twins power through the second half and overtake Detroit and Chicago for good. Had they not mailed it in at the end of the season, the Twins had a legitimate shot at having the best record in the AL.
Lastly, there is 2011. Morneau is not the player he once was. And this season is fresh in all of our minds so there is no need to go into detail. All I will say is this team is starting to win ballgames now that Morneau is injured.
Why is this? Is there more to Morneau's clubhouse personality that we don't know about, that negatively affects the team, even offsetting superstar numbers he can put up? Is there some other reason other players play worse with him in the lineup? Or is this all a weird coincidence?
I hate to subscribe to voodoo, but I think the Twins righting the ship 3 years in a row following an injury to #33 can't be mere coincidence.