Monday, June 27, 2005

Twins vs. Twins

Bob Collins has a thoughtful column over at The Bleacher Bums which puts the Twins record at this stage of the season into relative perspective. Even despite the way the team has been stumbling, bumbling and giving away winnable games the last couple weeks, as Bob points out, the team is playing at the same pace it set at this point last season. In fact, a little research turns up, the Twins are playing at about the same pace we've seen them set in late June every year since 2001. The main difference is only that one of our rivals this year has been playing out of its gourd.

So, with that in mind, I've decided to track in the righthand sidebar how the Twins are doing vs. all the other Twins clubs of this decade. I thought about including all the other league/division winners in Twins history too, but I guess it's ultimately not so fair (or flattering) to compare this team to the Killebrew clubs from another era that ended up winning 97-102 games in their best seasons. Anyway, the point of the exercise is just to track whether the club is doing better or worse than what we're used to seeing lately.

However, if you're curious to know where some other Twins clubs stood through 73 games:

The 1991 Twins were 44-29
The 1987 Twins were 42-31
The 1970 Twins were 48-25
The 1969 Twins were 40-33
The 1965 Twins were 45-28

So at this stage, the team's record doesn't compare badly even to most of those highlights of franchise history. When even the '65 Twins would be trailing the '05 ChiSox pace by 4.5 games, I guess that tells you something. Fortunately, we have the wild card still in play, even if Chicago might be on the verge of slipping out of reach.

This morning the Twins trail the Orioles in the Wild Card Standings by 1 game.


At 6/27/2005 9:09 AM, Blogger SBG said...

So, let me ask you. What do you think will happen this year? It seems pretty unlikely that the Twins will catch the White Sox barring an implosion in Chicago.

Can the Twins beat out the other wild card teams? If they make a run and hold off the other teams in that race, it could be argued that this is more impressive than rolling the pretty mediocre competition in the AL Central the last three years. Tip of the cap to the ChiSox, they are out of their minds good. Go get the O's, Yanks, Rangers, et al.

At 6/27/2005 12:49 PM, Blogger Lichty said...

The problem is that even when the Twins were winning the division the last three years they were not ahead of the Wild Card team.

Now that there are others in the Central playing well, the Twins cannot simply beat up on KC, Chi, Cle and Detroit and expect that pace to be enough.

Those teams are improving, making winning games against them more difficult.

One can take from the current situation that even though the other teams in the division are improving the Twins are right where they were last year - which is not enough against better competition. They may have squeaked by in the Central, but times are different and the Twins needed to improve like the rest of the division.

At 6/27/2005 2:37 PM, Anonymous Shane said...

Thanks frightwig. This is very, very helpful. I'll be back regularly to check out your Twins vs. Twins table.

At 6/27/2005 5:43 PM, Blogger frightwig said...

SBG, since I witnessed the Angels collapse and Mariners "Refuse to Lose" miracle run of '95, I still can't entirely rule out the Twins' chances of catching the White Sox this year, even if I know they are slight. If the team is still within 10 games at the break, and let's say 8 games at the end of July, I'll keep some hope alive. We still have 13 games to play with Chicago, I believe, and the Sox have an apparently rough schedule in the final couple months down the stretch.

Before the season, I wouldn't have thought the Central had any chance of taking the wild card slot--but that was when I expected both Boston and New York to make runs at 100+ wins. As long as the Yankees don't catch fire, I'd say the wild card is up for grabs. Baltimore, Texas, Cleveland... yeah, I think the Twins are as good or better than those teams. We stand a fair chance against them.

At 6/27/2005 5:50 PM, Blogger frightwig said...

Lichty, if the Twins are playing a tougher strength of schedule this year but have still maintained their usual pace at this point in the season, shouldn't we conclude that the Twins actually have improved along with the competition--although the record masks that progress?

If the team failed to keep pace with an improved division, wouldn't we expect the Twins' record to be significantly worse?

At 6/28/2005 2:26 PM, Blogger Lichty said...

If the team failed to keep pace with an improved division, wouldn't we expect the Twins' record to be significantly worse?

That was not my point. Improvement in my mind is not measured by the objective number of wins, but rather what it takes to get into the playoffs. My point is that essentially what improvement means is being better than all of the other non-division winners so that they the playoffs even if they don't win the division. (which they certainly are in position to do).

The Twins can no longer take for granted that the Sox will implode, Cleveland will fall short, and KC and Detroit will be there for the whupping. Thus with the Sox playing so well, they cannot simply settle for being "as good as last year," they have to be as good as it takes to win the wild card.

At 7/02/2005 1:44 AM, Blogger Leslie Monteiro said...

I think the Twins will win the wild card. They should forget about She-ca-go and just worry about themselves. Win the wild card and still find a way to dethrone the Sux.


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