Minnesota Twins: Could winning ugly in April lead to the Postseason?
By Otto Johnson
We’re now 17 games into the very young season, and the Minnesota Twins find themselves in first place in the American League Central. The team is 9-8 and holds a two-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians and Kansas City Royals. Several of us expected the Twins to win the division or at least be competitive, but the way the Twins have done it is…surprising.
As a team, the offense has struggled, ranking 22nd in runs scored and 26th in hits, but offenses across baseball have struggled mightily. The pitching has been solid, but the team is winning primarily one way: taking advantage of other team’s mistakes and winning ugly games.
The Minnesota Twins are winning ugly, and that could just lead them to the postseason.
Through 2021 and the first week or so of 2022, the Twins would get behind in games and fall apart, struggling to mount comebacks when facing even one-run deficits. In the last week, they’ve picked up four gritty and often ugly wins that have kept their five-game win streak going.
The first was a cold game and rainy game against the Royals. The Twins couldn’t score anyone with the exception of a sacrifice fly RBI from Miguel Sano in the second inning, but the Royals were even worse, managing just three hits and the bullpen managed a win.
The second came the next night. Michael Kopech and the Chicago White Sox bullpen allowed just three hits. In the bottom of the eighth, down one, the Twins were aided by a Tim Anderson error that saw the Twins score two. Emilio Pagan loaded the bases in the ninth, but he struck out Jake Burger to give the Twins a win they didn’t really deserve.
Two nights later, the Twins were losing 3-1 and were only saved by Byron Buxton going superhuman and mashing two home runs to win, one of them being this 469 foot walk-off blast in extra innings:
Last night was the best example to date. The Twins were up 3-1, when a Javier Baez three-run home run put the Tigers up 4-3. The game seemed lost, but the Twins were able to pull a win out thanks to some luck and Eric Haase:
These are for perfect examples of games that the 2021 Twins would have found a way to lose last season, as they couldn’t mount comebacks and had no luck at all. The 2022 teams are finding a way to win these ugly games that will matter in the long run.
Come August, this team will hopefully still be in the race for a playoff spot and it will be games like this that we can look back on and count on as important. Baseball has a long season, but each win matters, so if the team can keep winning these ugly games, the Minnesota Twins just might find themselves playing baseball in October.