Allow me to start off by saying that I am also in pain over the Minnesota Twins being swept by the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series. I felt fairly confident saying that the Twins would win the series by pushing it to Game Five, winning it, and moving on to the A.L. Championship Series. On the other hand, I felt that maybe it just wasn’t Minnesota’s year this year. All I wanted was for a good, competitive series and, well, that didn’t happen.
I was laying in bed late Monday night into Tuesday morning and listening to the final couple innings of the game courtesy of Cory Provus and Dan Gladden. As I was drifting into slumber, I thought of a few things as to why it’s okay that our 2019 Bomba Squad lost the series.
Minnesota had a memorable regular season
Juiced balls or not, this team broke records like there was no tomorrow. ethmaestro broke down the team’s home run records - both team and individual. They played some really hard-fought and exciting games (that doubleheader in Cleveland, anyone?) that I know I will remember for years to come. Dustin Morse, the Twins’ Senior Director of Communications had a tweet last week with all the tied and broken records by Minnesota this season:
FiveThirtyEight had the Twins at 84-78 and a 36% chance to make the playoffs this season. Bleacher Report: 88-74. Keith Law at ESPN had the Twins at 87-75. RotoChamp, who combines predictions from Baseball Prospectus, FiveThirtyEight, and FanGraphs, also had the Twins at 84-78. The Twins ended up at 101-61, better than the Pythagorean W-L on Baseball Reference, which is 97-65.
None of the above had the Twins winning the A.L. Central crown for the first time in almost a decade. And did anyone have this roster having as many players hitting this many bombas? Or hitting 300+ home runs?
The Bomba Squad exceeded expectations this year and did not have a big chance to make the postseason. This team defied odds and won the division crown. I’d take that over being under expectations.
New kids on the block
Who would have thought that some kid named Luis Arraez would make an impact on this team? He essentially ran Jonathan Schoop off the roster. He also played in the playoffs with a bad ankle and hit .334 on the year.
Moustaches. A player from the indy-league ranks was signed last year and shot up through the minors in two years to pitch in a game that eventually clinched the division title, got married on the weekend, and then started a playoff game the following week. Although it’s only in nine appearances, but his ERA is cemented at 1.59 for 2019.
AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE. Lewis Thorpe helped plug holes in the starting rotation and provided some long relief out of the ‘pen, getting his foot in the door already for next year’s Opening Day roster.
Flame-thrower. Brusdar Graterol not only made his major-league debut, but also got an appearance in the postseason after appearing in only ten big-league games. This all after being out for a majority of the season due to injury and making only 28 appearances in the minors this year.
Cody Stashak, Zack Littell, and Devin Smeltzer are all young players that made an impact on the team this year as well.
Future is bright
Along with the players mentioned above, names like LaMonte Wade Jr, Brent Rooker, Alex Kirilloff, and Jorge Alcala, among more, are knocking at the door and waiting in the wings to make their mark in the majors if a couple of them haven’t already. This team and farm system is built to be competitive for the foreseeable future, ensuring that Twins fans will be watching (hopefully) successful postseason runs for the upcoming season. Personally, I truly believe that the Twins will bring home a commissioner’s Trophy within five years.
Window is still open
With this team’s young core and with a few winter moves and signings, the Twins are going to be the team to beat in the division. The A.L. Central isn’t going anywhere during the next five years. Ron Gardenhire and the Detroit Tigers are far from putting together a comparable team. The Chicago White Sox are a few years from being competitive. The Kansas City Royals are about to go through an ownership change. The Cleveland Spiders traded away Trevor Bauer and Yasiel Puig is hitting free agency. Surprises can happen, and I’m sure they will, but the Central is under Minnesota’s control for at least a few more years.
In conclusion, yes, the Twins got swept again by the Yanks in another postseason series. Yes, the Twins have some ungodly losing streak in the playoffs. Yes, this postseason was painful as hell. But Minnesota Twins fans have a lot to look forward to after looking at the accomplishments from the regular season and looking forward at the seasons to come.
Are you convinced that it’s okay the Twins lost the ALDS?
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