The 2021 Minnesota Twins finished 73-89. In 2022, they clocked in at 78-84. Simply by W/L numbers, one might think those seasons resembled each other. Well, in the words of Dr. Cox from Scrubs: “Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong—wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong...”
In ‘21, Twins fans had high expectations after consecutive AL Central crowns—then bullpen disasters struck and torpedoed the season before it had even begun (9-15 April). The rest of the year was simply a long slog towards respectability.
2022 was considerably different. On June 1, the team was 30-22 and five games clear of Central competitors. At the All-Star break: 52-44 and 3 GA. As late as September 4, the Twins were 68-64 and even-steven with the Cleveland Guardians for top billing.
As so often happens in these parts, it wasn’t until the Minnesota Vikings began tossing around the pigskin that disaster struck...
- Sept 5-8: To no one’s surprise, this team dropped 3-of-4 from the Yankees in the Bronx.
- Sept 9-11: Swept by Francona’s Fun Bunch at Target Field.
- Sept 16-19: A sweep of the Royals to stay afloat was followed by 4 soul-crushing defeats in Cleveland.
When the dust had settled on that two-week stretch, the Twins were below .500 and 7 GB of the Central lead. Too banged up to make any sort of last-ditch run, they “faded into Bolivian” (to quote Mike Tyson).
It sometimes feels like 2022’s late-season collapse has permeated the offseason and build-up to Opening Day 2023. While the Twins have a lot to prove after two underachieving seasons, last year was filled with more positives than negatives—the latter just happened to come all at once and smack-dab in the schedule’s most crucial stretch. As long as similar multiplying calamities do not manifest in ‘23, the Twins should be in the mix wire to wire.
(Checks April schedule and sees two NYY series, a Fenway Park trip, & the Astros—with Polanco & Kirilloff shelved and Buxton mostly a DH to start out)