oh, for the love of Mike…
Help us, Obi-wan Kenobi
Hey, I just noticed something funny about this table from April of 2018, showing the Twins head-to-head record against all the other teams since 1961:
Yankees. Dodgers. Giants. Mets. Put the Twins on the field with any team that was ever connected with New York City, and the Twins play like a bunch of 5th graders.
What’s that about?
We is just a bunch of country bumpkins, intimidated by the big city slickers?
Just thought that was odd.
Pretty sick of the Yanquis.
36 wins, 16 losses.
20 games over .500.
When was the last time the Twins were 20 games over .500?
Well, I can’t say for sure, but looking back at the Twins records over the years, I notice that in 2010 the Twins finished the season at 94-68, 26 games over. And they were 92-60 on September 22nd. 32 games over. So. Not so very long ago, really, in baseball time. Just nine years ago. That was the season when Morneau was hitting .345, with 18 HR and 56 RBIs and then he got the concussion on July 7th that changed his life. Damn. That was the season when Delmon Young hit .298 with 21 hr and 112 rbi. Orlando Hundson played second base, seriously, hit .268 with 133 hits. Who remembers Orlando Hudson? Anybody? Buhler?
Anyway, Joe Mauer hit .327 (pre-concussion days as well,) JJ Hardy played shortstop, Jason Kubel was in the outfield, Danny Valencia was at third, and Cuddyer was at first (post-Morneau). Pavano won 17 games, Liriano 14, Kevin Slowey, 13. Brian Duensing won 10 in relief. Scott Baker won a dozen. Jon Rauch was our closer, got 21 saves. Wow, this seems like ancient history, and it’s just nine seasons ago. Matt Capps also had 16 saves that year. Matt Capps! I think Rauch must have got hurt, there.
Then, in 2011 the Twins turned it around and went 63-99. Morneau hit .227, and probably shouldn’t have been out there playing. Nishioka hit .226 at shortstop, till he got hurt. Yes, Nishioka, that was his season in the sun. Drew Butera played 93 games at catcher and hit .167. Yes, that’s right. Not a typo. .167. Butera was really known more for his defense than his bat. I guess Mauer must have got hurt. Concussion? Mauer played 82 games and hit .287. Delmon Young, .266, 4 hr. Jim Thome came on board and hit a dozen. Cuddyer hit .284 with 20 hr and 71 rbi. Chris Parmalee came up for a cup of coffee and hit .355 in 76 at bats. Pavano, 9-13, Duensing 9-14, Liriano, 9-10. Capps went 4-7, with 15 saves. Well, need I go on? 2011 was not a good season. And following on the heels of 2010, it was particularly brutal. And the sudden demise of Morneau and Mauer, that was just brutal. Ouch.
It’s remarkable, really, how quickly things can go south.
2010: scored 781, allowed 671
2011: scored 619, allowed 804
2019, so far: scored 315, allowed 204.
That’s correct, folks. It’s still May, and the Twins have scored 315 runs.
It’s been a pretty good month.
Good enough, in fact, for the Twins to capture the number 4 spot on the MLB power rankings. Yes. That’s right. Number 4. That’s how good we are right now, according to the MLB power rankings. Right behind the Astros, the Dodgers, and the Yankees.
Number 4 is ours. All ours. We are 4th!
In the whole recorded history of organized baseball, has any one team ever managed to do worse against another team, head-to-head, than the Minnesota Twins against the New York Damn Yankees?
Here’s part of the answer; the Twins record since 1961 against all the other teams. The good news: We own the Padres. The bad news: Damn Yankees. I don’t think this counts today’s game, so it’s one game worse than what we see here. (Thanks a million, BaseballReference.com, for having these stats ready at the push of a few buttons.) Looking at this again, it probably doesn’t include any of 2018. Still.
It would take awhile to run through all the teams to see what might be the worst of the worse. I see that the Mets have a .443 percentage against the Dodgers. Better than the Twins. Houston has a .397 record against the Rangers, but in a lot fewer games, so it doesn’t count. Maybe some day. Hey, Cleveland is also at .416 against the Yankees since ’61. What a coincidence! I have a suspicion that they have done quite a bit better in the last 20 years, though.
Since 1998: Indians vs Yankees: .386
Since 1998: Twins vs Yankees: .329
Either way, nothing to write home about.
Nauseating, in fact.
This is rather disheartening research.
I thought it might cheer me up to see who has beat up on the Yankees, head-to-head, since 1961. The answer?
The Yankees have an above .500 record against every team in the American League, (since 1961). The team that gives them the most problems is Boston; they’re .513 against Boston.
They’re .481 against the Phillies, (13-14) and .462 against the Dodgers (6-7).
American League teams that have done worse than the Twins against the Yankees since 1961:
Kansas City: .402
Always nice to get that first one done. Always feels good. And somewhat a relief.
(That shadow lurking in the background is the memory of the 2016 season.)
Yesterday the Twins knocked the Orioles, 6-2. Sano hit his first of the season, a solo shot in the first. Six nothing till the ninth, and the boys were working on a no-hitter with two-outs in the 8th. Gibson tossed six hit-free innings, striking out 6 (while also walking 5.) Pressly worked the 7th and 8th, and gave up the hit. Gabriel Moya gave up a two run homer in the ninth. Moya was acquired from the Diamond Backs for catcher John Ryan Murphy and rocked double A ball last year, earning a late season call up.
Berrios pitches for the Twins today, and I rate our chances with him on the mound as good.
I wonder what happened to John Ryan Murphy? The Twins traded Aaron Hicks for him, after a season where he batted .277 in 155 at bats with the Yankees. He was a second round pick by the Yankees, made steady progress through their minors, hit .270 and then .246 at AAA. Then .146 for the Twins, followed by .236 and .222 at triple A. Then to Arizona, and I see he’s up in the bigs to start the season. Curious.
I’ve taken a pensive scan through the 2018 edition of the Twins, and at last come up with my 2018 prediction.
The positives I see:
This puts the Twins 7.5 games up from last season. Let’s call it eight. That puts them at 93-69 at year’s end.
On the downside:
So there’s a few questions heading into the season, but I counterbalance these with
All together, I see all these questions as a break-even proposition. And that still leaves as at 93-69 at year’s end.
But wait. There’s the Hubris penalty.
And so this puts the Twins at 6 games up from last season, and 91 – 71 at season’s end.
Unfortunately, Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projections say today that the Twins will finish at 82 -80 this season, scoring 789 runs, and giving up 784. Last year the Twins scored 815, and gave up 788. I’m not sure how they figure this club is going to score less runs than last year, but I’m sure they’ve put in all the numbers, the pitchers, the health factors, wind direction, economic conditions, seismic activity, global warming, bird migration patterns, oil prices, and bat velocities, and so 789 is probably a pretty good guess. Perhaps they know some things I don’t.
Still, I’ll be surprised if this team doesn’t score more, and give up less. There may be other factors that they’ve overlooked and that I took into account. Time will tell who’s right about this.
The hometown StarTribune stable of baseball mavens are just slightly more optimistic than the Prospectus stat-machine:
Again, they probably are blessed with a wealth of arcane “inside” knowledge, drawn from deep within the inner sanctum of the clubhouse, that mere mortals not able to access. But I still think that they are being overly cautious. Probably because they have professional reputations at stake, and, as baseball writers, well there’s always a lot to criticize and they are happy to do so. And that, my friends, leads to a warped perspective, and a life of unhappiness.
I wonder if they write articles at the end of the season, talking about their forecast and the final outcome? Well, we shall see, gentlemen. We shall see.
By the way, here it is, baseball season, game 3, and it’s 26 degrees here, and there’s icy snow on the sidewalks, and there’s more snow predicted in the next couple of days.