Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Table of Contenders

The table below shows the records of the AL division leaders and wild card contenders since the start of June.

Team
W-L
Pct.
GB
RS
RA
Pythag
Athletics
35-13
.729
--
276
170
35-13
White Sox
30-16
.652
4
250
200
28-18
Angels
29-18
.617
5.5
231
189
28-19
Yankees
25-21
.543
9
259
233
25-21
Red Sox
26-22
.542
9
260
236
26-22
Indians
26-23
.531
9.5
244
205
29-20
Tigers
26-24
.520
10
239
226
26-24
TWINS
24-24
.500
11
214
215
24-24
Blue Jays
21-25
.457
13
237
210
26-20
Orioles
19-28
.404
15.5
197
231
20-27
Rangers
18-29
.383
16.5
254
283
21-26

Besides the 3 current division leaders (Angels, White Sox, Red Sox), there are 8 teams within 5 games of the top of the wild card chase this morning. You can check the standings by scrolling down through the sidebar to the right.

Good News for the Twins:

While the Yankees have made a move on the inside this month, picking up 3 games on the Twins while posting a 13-7 record in July, the Red Sox have squandered their hot June (17-9) by stumbling to a 9-13 record this month, and the Orioles are falling apart at the seams. This morning, the Red Sox lead the Yankees in the East by just one game. So even if Stay-Puft continues to lead the Yankees upwards through the standings (as SBG has noted, Giambi is ripping the cover off the ball lately, batting .373/.519/1.017 in July), the Twins can help themselves in the wild card race by taking care of business with the BoSox in the next few weeks, possibly getting rid of the Yankee problem by opening the door for New York to reclaim the top spot in the East.

The Indians also have cooled off since posting a 17-10 record in June, falling to 9-13 while scoring even fewer runs than the Twins this month, believe it or not.

The Rangers look fried. The Jays are muddling along and underperforming badly on their run differential. The Tigers have only picked up a game on the Twins in the last seven weeks, and are still struggling to get above .500 on the season.

That's about it for the good news. Which brings us to the...

Bad News for the Twins:

First of all, of course, the offense isn't scoring runs. In that group of 11 contenders, only the Orioles have scored fewer runs since the start of June; and on the whole season, the Twins have the worst offense amongst the contenders. Even the Devil Rays have outscored our team. Yeah, baby. But lately the pitching hasn't been all that stellar, either. Note that since June began, the Twins rate a middling 6th in the Table of Contenders in runs allowed.

If you're disposed towards dismissing Cleveland and Toronto, it might cheer you to note that those are two of the clubs which have been stingier about allowing runs than the Twins of late. I suppose we can set aside thoughts about Chicago for awhile, too. But that leaves us with Anaheim and Oakland....

After the customary slow start on the season, the A's once again have kicked into their slash n' burn drive through the summer schedule. Since the start of June, they're playing .729 ball; nobody else is scoring more or allowing less runs; and they've made up 11 games on the Twins. Thirteen, if you want to start counting on June 10, and now stand a half-game ahead of our team in the wild card standings. Last night, the A's stomped C.C. Sabathia and the Indians by a 13-4 score. This is a team the Twins will be meeting seven times in the first two weeks of August. If the Minnesotas can't unpack their A-game out of April storage right quick, well, you see the problem.

The Twins don't seem to be in position to catch much relief if the A's go on to make up the five games needed to catch the Angels of Anaheim for the West lead, either. The LAA of A (AFL-CIO) have been playing some hot ball themselves the last seven weeks, featuring the 2nd stingiest pitching and defense in the league since June began. And the Twins have no more chances to square up with the Halos head-to-head. If the A's can charge unimpeded to the top of the West, the Angels still stand a good chance of taking the wild card fairly comfortably.

The Twins have to get it done against New York, Boston, and Oakland in the next few weeks. They can do a lot to help their own cause by tripping up the A's and sending the Red Sox reeling; and if the Twins wilt under the heat, it could be just as critical. This is it.

If there is the heart of a playoff team in Minnesota this year, it better start beating now.

4 Comments:

At 7/26/2005 3:12 PM, Anonymous spycake said...

It's easy to forget the Twins were only about 4-5 games back of the ChiSox at the beginning of June (and probably equally ahead in the WC standings). Thanks for the chart.

 
At 7/26/2005 5:29 PM, Blogger SBG said...

What's fright(wig)ening is that the Twins have an absolutely brutal schedule coming up, and every one of those teams has been playing as well or better than the Twins.

 
At 7/26/2005 7:58 PM, Blogger frightwig said...

It seems crazy to think that within the last 6-7 weeks, the Twins were still close enough to Chicago to give us hope that our team might win the division if the Sox stumbled just a little bit--if they would just have a bad week!

It is a tough stretch of games ahead, but I think this might be a good time to catch Boston, and we could get a rough split of the Oakland games if only because the Twins tend to match up well with the A's. But I'm feeling concerned mainly because the Twins have been flat for so long. We've been watching a .500 team for about 3 months. Maybe that's all they got, unless Morneau starts hitting and Johan turns into Cy Young again. Maybe there isn't another late kick in the team this year.

 
At 7/30/2005 12:31 PM, Blogger Leslie Monteiro said...

This season is over for the Twins.

fright: Who stinks more? The Twins or the Mariners. Two proud franchises have fallen apart and I doubt things will get any better for both franchises in the next few years.

 

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