The Minnesota Twins would be World Series Champions if the object of the game was to have a fantastic regular season, but never win a postseason game. I’m starting to get worried that calendars at Target Field don’t have October in them.
How many times can you put yourselves through this, Minnesota?
The Minnesota Twins
2020: Record: 37 – 23
2020 Finish: 1st in the AL Central, 2nd in the X League
Surprises in 2020
Outside of Minnesota and Los Angeles, many people may have forgotten that Kenta Maeda ended up with the Twins as part of the notorious Mookie Betts blockbuster trade this offseason. And it therefore stands to reason that a lot of folks out there have no appreciation for how dominant Maeda was in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.
Look no further than his astounding 0.750 WHIP for proof. While Maeda only allowed 40 hits in just over 66 innings pitched, he somehow managed to only walk 10 batters in that span. Ten. Less than a walk per start. Add in the fact he hit zero batters and threw zero wild pitches, and one could argue he’s got the best command in the game.
This was vintage Maeda, who burst onto the scene in 2016 with some staggering numbers. If he can continue to find his rhythm in Minnesota, the Twins might just become the second-biggest winners of the Mookie deal.
Nelson Cruz was also impeccable in his shortened 2020 season, once again proving that age is just a number. After Seattle let him go, seemingly to walk off into the sunset, Cruz has struck gold in Minnesota, with 2020 being his second season finishing with his average over .300 and his OPS above .925. In his 16 year MLB career, that’s the first time Cruz has completed that feat.
But with the advent of the Universal DH, Cruz’s value has skyrocketed across both leagues. Is it in the Twins best interest to keep him in Minnesota? Absolutely, but it might also be in Cruz’s as well, considering the success he’s found at Target Field.
Disappointments in 2020
On October 5, 2004, the Minnesota Twins defeated the New York Yankees 2-0, behind a decent outing from Johan Santana. That was the last postseason victory for the Minnesota Twins.
Things that have happened since October 5th, 2004.
- The United States of America has had four different presidents.
- The San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox both have won three separate World Series titles.
- The Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Vikings moved out of the Metrodome.
- The Washington Nationals came into the league in 2005 and won their first World Series in 2019.
- Bartolo Colon won a Cy Young, and hit a home run.
All of those things, and plenty more, have happened more frequently than a Twins postseason win.
For those of you counting at home, the Twins 2-0 series defeat to the Astros in the 2020 Wild Card round marked the Twins’ 17th and 18th consecutive postseason losses, giving them the most in MLB history. That record is not frustrating, or depressing, it’s downright maddening.
For this team to be so successful in the regular-season only to fall flat on their face time and time again, is a problem. And it is, without a doubt, the darkest mark on the Twins 2020 season.
Looking Ahead to 2021
All that being said, the Twins are set to once again find themselves atop a weak AL Central division. With Cleveland selling off their stars, Kansas City coming out of hibernation, and the Tigers beginning to show signs of life, the only team the Twins need to dodge are the White Sox.
While that’s easier said than done, it’s very doable, as the White Sox are going into a transition of their own. And one that requires them to gel as a team. Regardless, with the expanded postseason format, the Twins can easily snag the second spot should the White Sox launch ahead.
The Twins have a path forward with the roster they have now. Yes, losing Jake Odorizzi would be tough, but the Twins front office is one you can trust. They’ll figure out how to keep this team competitive, you can count on that. Bringing in Andrelton Simmons and reuniting with Nelson Cruz are both smart calls that should pay dividends in 2021.
Projected 2021 Finish: 94 – 68, 1st in the AL Central
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