It’s the final day of May. The Minnesota Twins are currently 30-21 and sit five games ahead of the Chicago White Sox and six games ahead the Cleveland Guardians. The team enters June with the seventh best record in baseball. With all this being said, why does it feel like the Twins are in trouble?
Their play seems to have deteriorated. Twins have struggled since last Wednesday, going 3-5 over their last eight games. That mark would be fine if they were facing the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals, the two worst teams in the American League. While the White Sox can’t seem to make these losses count, the Twins might be facing an even bigger challenge later this week.
The Minnesota Twins numerous injuries and trip to Toronto could be the perfect storm to shake the Twins’ division lead.
The main reason the Twins are struggling right now is due to how banged up the team is. Currently, here’s a breakdown of the team’s currently injured or otherwise inactive players and the date they were placed on the list:
- Covid-IL: Joe Ryan, Gilberto Celestino, Carlos Correa
- Pitcher (15 Day) IL: Cody Stashak, Danny Coulombe, Josh Winder
- Position Player (10 Day) IL: Royce Lewis
- Long-Term (60 Day) IL: Randy Dobnak, Kenta Maeda, Miguel Sano, Jhon Romero, Chris Paddack, Jorge Alcala
Of those players, Alcala is slated to start a rehab assignment in Fort Myers over the next two days and Josh Winder should be back later in the week, but the team is missing huge contributors, with Ryan, Correa, and Lewis as huge missing pieces.
Now teams face injuries all the time, it’s a part of baseball. The bigger problem is the team’s current road trip. After playing five games in Detroit, the Twins head north of the border for their first and only trip to Toronto this year. This has been a big challenge for several teams.
Regardless of your opinion on the vaccine or the Canadian policy itself, it’s something that pro teams have to deal with. The Twins have been tight-lipped about their players’ vaccination status, as they want the players’ privacy (and fan allegiance) intact.
Thus, the Minnesota Twins are now facing their biggest challenge of the season, with at least seven players on the covid/injured list and at least one player on the restricted travel list. How does a team deal with missing at least 20% of their 40-Man roster?
Well, they’re adding a lot of players that we never expected to see in May like Jermaine Palacios, Cole Sands, Juan Minaya, and likely several more tomorrow, the day before the series begins. As we saw yesterday evening, it’s hard for those players to match up with big league talent.
The Minnesota Twins still have a lot of talented players on their roster, with Luis Arraez, Gio Urshela, and Gary Sanchez all playing well, but if the team can’t gut out victories against the Tigers and Royals, how do they expect to beat the (talented, underperforming) Toronto Blue Jays?
The Twins face a tough schedule as August turns into September (while the White Sox have an easier time), so they need as many wins right now as possible. They have to fight through this perfect storm of missing players in order to win a division.