I already owe the Twins an apology. It’s not like I have such an outstanding track record of being correct, but so far at least, I seem even more wrong about this team than I usually am. Before the season, I picked the Twins to win “only” 33 games. It’s not like I thought 33-27 was bad, but it would appear that I’ve severely underestimated this team.
I doubted the pitching, but why? Even with Odorizzi, Bailey, and Hill on the injured list, the pitching has been excellent. Dobnak has been absolutely outstanding. Romo has been as good as his beard. Rogers, May, Duffey, Clippard, and Maeda, have been every bit as good as we had hoped they would be. I should actually name all of them, Alcala, Stashak….what’s not to like so far?
Honestly, Berrios has only been “fine”….but that’s been fine enough for this team.
As for the hitting, Donaldson was slow to start, and then quick to be injured,….but who needs him with this team? We will ultimately need him, of course, but truthfully, we haven’t lost a step without him yet. Sano has started slow (except for two clutch home runs in the same game). Buxton has started slow (and in my defense, I fully expected that), but again, we haven’t missed a step.
Cave has been more than adequate in place of Buxton. Arraez has been surprisingly ineffective at the plate so far, if only because our expectations are so incredibly high for him, but…again…we haven’t skipped a beat.
Isn’t one of the tried and true adages of sports the notion that truly good teams find ways to win even when they aren’t playing their best. The Twins are winning, and I can’t really say that anyone is exceeding expectations. Cruz has been excellent, as have been Taylor Rogers and Sergio Romo, but honestly, Garver, Rosario, Sano, and Polanco all could’ve started better. It’s hard to criticize Kepler, as he set the tone for the season with his season opening lead-off homer, his ninth inning homer Wednesday night, and he’s been fantastic at accepting walks, but even as good as he’s been, many of us might have expected even more.
All in all, lots of Twins fans probably expected more of many of the individuals on the team, and yet as a team, they are functioning superbly. We haven’t really needed more than we’ve already had.
I can’t complain defensively either. Everyone contributes. Gonzalez has been solid at third, first, and in the outfield, and he had a clutch hit in Wednesday night’s game. Arraez and Adrianza made great plays in Wednesday night’s Pirates game. It seems like there’s an outstanding defensive play in every game, and it’s not always the same guy.
So, the Twins are winning and they’re not even running on all cylinders…as they say. No need to worry about peak performance for each individual, until peak performance is needed. Maybe the Twins, collectively at least, are just that good. I hope so. I have no reason to doubt them any longer….at least for now.
Bring on the damned Yankees! Actually, I’d rather we never have to play the Yankees again, but bravado seems oddly appropriate about now, and as I write this, if the Twins are going to reach the promised land, it appears the only team in the AL (so far) as good as they are, might be those damned Yankees.
As for me, I reserve the right to change my mind…again….but, for now, I apologize for only picking them to win 33. As of now, it appears the only way they’d win “merely” 33 would be for the season to be cut short(er). As we continue to hope that the season plays out, I must acknowledge that the Twins clearly deserved more of my respect.