With a win tonight, the Minnesota Twins will have swept the Cleveland Indians and will, very suddenly, be in a two-way tie for third place in the American League Central Division. Granted, it would require the Indians to lose their twelfth game in a row, which is no small feat, but it also has to do with the success of our own team.
On May 27 the Twins were 17 games under .500, at 15-32. Since then the club is 32-29, which is not great but is significantly better. And a lot closer to the level of play at which we thought the team would be prior to the season. Of course it took a lot of changes to make that happen, largely in the starting rotation, so it's not exactly apples-to-apples. But STILL. Three games over .500 in the team's last 61 games is a big deal.
We shouldn't harbor any unrealistic hopes here. Best case scenario at the end of play today is that the Twins are still 10.5 games off the pace set by the White Sox, and catching them isn't in the cards. But hey: the Twins are one hell of a lot better than they were at the end of May. Dare I say it: I'd call them down right competitive.
My question for you is this: how good can things get? Right now the team is still 12 games under .500 with 52 games left to play. Can they manage a .500 record on the year? Here's how they'd have to play to reach certain benchmarks over the rest of the season.
To get to .500: Must go 32-20, winning percentage of .640 (81-81)
To play at same 32-29 clip rest of season: Must go 27-25, winning percentage of .519 (76-86)
To play at whole season clip: Must go 23-29, winning percentage of .450 (72-90)