Minnesota Twins Sunday Wrap-Up: Bats wake up for Week 8
By Otto Johnson
The Minnesota Twins came into Week 8 fresh off of one of their best weeks of the season and followed it up with an offensive outburst.
For those of you like me, the Minnesota Twins offensive output was not cutting it at all. Prior to Week 8, the Twins had scored 5 or more runs in 14 of their first 41 games (just 34%), an abysmal offensive offering from a team that had set an MLB record in homers just a year before.
The Twins had 171 runs through seven weeks, averaging just 4.17 runs per game, but after 36 runs in 6 games this week (6 runs per game), that rate has jumped to 4.40 runs per game. The Twins are now 17th in runs, far better than their spot in the early twenties from a week ago.
The team has gotten a jump start from returning talent, improved play, and hot rookies (one of whom is done for the year). We go into all that and more in this week’s version of the Sunday Wrap-Up.
The Minnesota Twins Offense is Back: Hot Streaks, Rookies, Injuries and More:
- The Minnesota Twins had one of their best offensive weeks all season, and it’s clear as to how it happened: Rookies performed, recent returning players are red-hot, and the bullpen got a bit of a break. The team finally put it all together, and it was fantastic to see.
- Luis Arraez is headed to the IL retroactive to September 9th. There were hopes he could avoid an IL stint, but he it couldn’t be avoided.
- Ryan Jeffers has been phenomenal since being called up to help with the injury-filled backstop position. The rookie is slashing .289/.372/.447 with two homers and four RBI in 19 games. That’s the second-best OBP mark of any Twin with over 15 games, and his defense has been great too. The Twins appear to have found the backstop of the future.
- Speaking of valuable rookies, Brent Rooker, who was having an excellent start to his career, is now out for the season with a fractured forearm. This hurts the Twins a lot, as he was slashing .316/.381/.579 and played really well in the absence of Max Kepler.
- Speaking of Kepler, he made his return to the field earlier today. While he went 0-4 and his bat continues to lag behind, the Minnesota Twins’ defense is radically better with him in right field. Here’s to hoping his bat gets back on track with some time.
- If Kepler’s return goes as well as the return of Byron Buxton and Josh Donaldson, the Twins are in great hands:
- Since his return on September 1st, Buxton has hit .320 with three homers and seven RBI.
- Since Donaldson’s return September 2nd, he’s hit .259 with two homers and six RBI while bringing his average up 42 points. Both have been key pieces in the recent surge.
- In addition to the offense finally humming, the Twins’ starting pitching has really gotten going too. Outside of Randy Dobnak‘s awful start on short rest, the Twins’ starters have allowed 9 runs over 29 innings (2.79 ERA).
- Lastly, Sergio Romo needs to know better. The Minnesota Twins pitcher was suspended and fined after a verbal altercation with Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor. I know his fire is what makes him such a great teammate, and he didn’t deserve a suspension, but he can’t be in that position to start with.
Around the AL Central: Taking a Look at the Minnesota Twins Rivals
- Chicago White Sox (30-16): The hottest team in baseball stays red hot. The Sox won 4 of 5 this week and outscored their opponents 38-11. This Twins-White Sox series starting tomorrow is going to be BIG.
- Cleveland Indians (26-21): Want to know the best way to fall out of the divisional race? Go 2-5 in a week and get swept by the team in front of you in the standings. The usually stellar pitching allowed 32 runs while the offense only managed 21. That’s an awful week.
- Detroit Tigers (20-26): Remember when the Tigers were in the playoff hunt? Yeah, me neither. The Tigers went 3-5 this week, pushing them 5.5 games behind Cleveland and New York. They’re still in the playoff race, but they’re not making it this year. Keep developing the pitching and building for the future.
- Kansas City Royals (20-28): The worst team in the division and tied for the sixth worst record in the league, the Kansas City Royals are awful. Salvador Perez and Brad Keller are the only players performing, and this season can’t end quick enough.
Around the MLB: Important Minnesota Twins-related news around the league
- Matt Chapman, the star third baseman of the Athletics, is out for the season after suffering a season-ending hip injury. This is a massive blow for the A’s as Chapman is their best player, so this may help the Twins catch them in the standings.
- Playoff Picture: We started this picture last week, and while there’s a lot of change in the NL, the AL stayed mostly the same. Let’s go:
- American League: The top three seeds all remained the same, but the order changed slightly. The White Sox are now the Number 1 seed, with the Rays in the 2 spot and the Athletics in the third slot. This also means the Minnesota Twins are just one game out of the No. 1 slot.
- The fourth seed would be the Twins, and then three games behind them are the Blue Jays, followed by the Astros three games later. It’s looking more and more likely that the AL Central second place team will finish fourth, the AL East second place team will finish fifth, and the AL West team will finish sixth. To finish, the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians hold the final two spots.
- As for the teams on the outside looking in, the Orioles and Tigers are currently 5.5 games back of Cleveland and New York, but the most likely team that’s on the outside is the Mariners. The Mariners (21-25) sit just two games back of the Astros and are the only team left that has a chance at squeaking in.
- National League: Similar to the AL, the top three seeds remain the same: the Dodgers are No. 1, Braves are 2, and the Cubs are 3. The only difference is that now, it’s a lot closer.
- The Padres are right on the heels of the Dodgers, so they still have the No. 4 seed. For the 5 seed, the Marlins hold a 1.5 game on the Phillies, while the 6th seed is the Cardinals (who are up two games on the Brewers).
- Lastly, the Phillies and Giants are currently 7 and 8 respectively, but similar to last week, Only the Pirates, Diamondbacks, and now Nationals seem to be out of this one.