In case you somehow didn’t know, that’s Kevin Bacon’s first real acting roll, as the preppy Chip Diller in Animal House (seriously, is there anyone who hasn’t seen that movie? If so, shame on you.) As everything goes to absolute chaos around him, Bacon stands against the tide to frantically attempt to convince you that all is well. I’m here to do the same thing. Hopefully my prediction is more accurate.
There is a lot of panic in Twins territory as the home team’s lead has shrunk to two games over the despicable Cleveland squad, and we saw two-of-three dropped to the absolutely hated Yankees. But, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, and the Twins could be in better shape than it looks at the moment.
First of all, the toughest portion of the Twins schedule is pretty much over, and the bulk of their remaining games come against the MLB’s version of the “Little Sisters of the Poor.” These are the same cupcakes that Cleveland has been steamrolling for the last month, teams like Detroit, Kansas City, and Chicago. Cleveland still has to play four games against the Bronx Bombers, in addition to the bulk of their remaining games being against contenders, or at least pretenders for the playoffs. We’ve talked about the schedule before, but from here out, it clearly favors the Twins. The two teams also face off head-to-head for a couple more series, and the Twins control their own destiny in that regard.
Every team goes through hot-and-cold stretches. Cleveland’s best 20 game record is 15-5. Meanwhile their biggest slump shows a 8-12 record. For the same metric, the Twins best is 16-4, and their worst is 9-11. It just so happens that they’ve been hot lately, while we haven’t been—and that’s not the end of the world. There are 162 games for a reason.
Even more importantly, the Twins bats are back. The Twins scored 27 runs against the Yankees, an average of nine runs per game. The Yankees have a pretty decent pitching staff, certainly better than most of the teams that the Twins play in August. Most of those teams also won’t put up a total of 30 runs against the Twins. The Twins were literally one Aaron Hicks miracle catch away from taking two-of-three against the Evil Empire. That is pretty impressive, really.
Finally, reinforcements are coming. Byron Buxton and C.J. Cron are both on the injured list (as are several less pivotal players.) Buxton especially should be returning soon, as long as they stop removing pieces of him. The Twins are a better team with Buxton in the line up, as Cody Christie proved just the other day at Twins Daily. The Twins will also be picking up some pitching reinforcements, and the bullpen reinvention is already underway. The trade deadline is just over a week away, and the Twins have been linked to multiple pitchers. A new starter is well within the range of possible, and will help immensely, and a reliever seems to be almost guaranteed. Blake Parker, Matt Magill, Mike Morin, and Adalberto Mejia have all been DFA’d, in favor of high-upside arms like Cody Stashak, Zack Littell, Devin Smeltzer, and Kohl Stewart. Being able to shuffle in these guys will help keep the ‘pen fresh down the stretch. Cody Allen is still waiting in the wings, if he can recover enough of his previous form to be a usable set up arm. Add in a couple more high-leverage guys by trade, and this bullpen could easily become a weapon.
Is it time to panic?
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