The Minnesota Twins are playing .500 baseball!! Or more correctly they were above .500 for the second half before getting swept in KC.
So lets take a look at some possible reasons why the turnaround happened for the Minnesota Twins.
The first thing that jumps out at me, is the young guys are fighting for those close games a little harder.
The team is winning a larger percentage of the close games than the first half.
I define a three-run game as close. During the first half the Twins were 19-37 (.339), now in the second half they are 10-8 (.556).
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At least to me, that means the players are not giving up when they get down. They are battling back after the pitchers give up those early runs.
Our hitters have to do that more often too because the starting pitching has been worse than the first half (didn’t know that was possible).
Starters before the All-Star break had a 5.26 ERA. After the break it is up to a 5.66 but their winning percentage has climbed 60 points.
Conversely, our relievers have really stepped up.
Pre All-Star, 4.51 ERA and 18 losses, post All Star, 3.65 ERA and only two losses. Fewer runs and a lower WHIP are huge when you have young hitters trying to play catch up all of the time.
Just to show how bad the starting pitchers are, their first inning ERA is 5.59, 85 runs have been given up in the 1st this year by Minnesota.
By comparison, the only worse inning is the fifth with 6.17 and 96 runs allowed.
Think about that, fresh game, nothing has happened, compared to, more often than not, third time through the order and getting tired.
Now my last observation about a possible reason the Minnesota Twins have been better in the second half is purely just my interpretation of what I see.
To me it looks like the players are having more fun during the games. There is something to be said about that.
Keeping a light atmosphere 120+ games into the season is difficult. Most players are tired, have nagging little injuries, missing time with families, and so on.
Part of the reason that they might be having more fun is because they are winning a little more. My real theory is that they know that there is very little pressure for the rest of the season.
The GM is gone. The team sold at the trade deadline. They are 20 games back in their division. No one expects anything but improvement now. Better numbers, not necessarily more wins.
The only real thing that they have to worry about is getting sent back to AAA Rochester.
So here is to hoping that the kids keep playing with the enthusiasm of young ball players. That the relief pitchers keep the opposition within striking distance.
The coaches keep teaching, but most importantly, that our temporary front office will show greater patience with our prospects.