One year ago today, the Twins beat the Cleveland Indians 6-4 and clinched the AL Central crown for the 2nd year in a row. One year ago today we were all talking about how nice it was to clinch the division with 11 games left to go in the season. One year ago today we were talking about how the Twins would set up their rotation for the playoffs.
Today I read an article that the Twins need to win tonight to avoid their longest losing streak since 1982. Today I read an article that the Twins need to win 4 out of their final 9 games in order to avoid only the 2nd 100-loss season in team history. Today the Twins are 59-94, 29.5 games out of first place and have the 2nd worst record in Major League Baseball...
My-oh-my how much can change in one year's time.
Much has been written about the reasons for the Twins' struggles this year and I'm not here to shed anymore light on it, I think we're all had enough hand-wringing and head-scratching for one season. It's amazing that a 94-win team with essentially the same group of core players could end up a near 100-loss team the very next season, but I suppose it's not without precedent. The 1990 Twins finished in last place and won only 74 games before winning 95 games in 1991 and going on to win the World Series. Since 1991, only 5 teams have gone from last place to first place and all of them were National League teams (source), two teams have gone from last place to make the playoffs via the Wildcard. To quote the movie, "Dumb and Dumber"..."so you're saying there's a chance!"
If the Twins can get Mauer, Morneau and a host of other injured players healthy over the off-season, they should have no problem out-performing this year's injury-riddled Triple-A team. It will be interesting to see what kind of fall-out there will be with regard to personnel changes within the Twins organization this off-season. If I had my vote I would probably find a new GM and a new training/medical staff. Bill Smith has proven to be mediocre at best and the with the number of injury debacles the Twins have had over the last few years, I think the Twins need to take a long, hard look at their training staff to see where some changes might be made. Getting healthy will be Goal #1 for the Twins this off-season and they will need to make a few savvy moves to shore up the many holes that this season has made obvious. Here's to next year.