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HBT Daily: It’s time to declare some teams dead

Jun 13, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT

Tiffany and I decide if we can't officially declare dead the pretenders of the American League.
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  1. minnesconsin - Jun 13, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    on the heels of an 8-2 run, you declare the Twins dead? Sure, a rebirth is unlikely here. But they’re 9 games out right now. I’ts June 13th and every team in the division has serious flaws. In 2009 they were 7 games back on September 6th. It’s premature to write out playoff baseball in MN this fall. (of course, they’d be swept in the ALDS, but still…)

    • kopy - Jun 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      Exactly. I was reasonably pessimistic earlier in the season when they were on pace to under-perform the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, but I’m getting cautiously excited.

      Their pitching is on fire, their offense has improved and sustained some good play, and they will soon be getting Mauer, Nishioka, Kubel, Thome and Span back from the DL. That, combined with the fact that they only have to make up 9 games in 14 weeks against other flawed teams is a good recipe for a comeback.

      The biggest question, in my opinion, is if the pitching can actually sustain some good level of success. The rotation has reasons to expect good numbers (Liriano, Pavano, etc.), but the bullpen is currently overachieving its ass off.

    • tomemos - Jun 13, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      An 8-2 run…and they *still* have the worst record in the American League. Think about what that means. To finish with 86 wins–maybe not good enough for the playoffs anyway–they’d have to go 60-37, a .618 winning percentage. You think they’re going to play at a 100-win clip from here on out? Na guh ha pun.

      • pmcenroe - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:27 PM

        I think the 100-win clip stuff is overstated, I keep hearing it but it doesn’t actually mean anything b/c they dont have to actually win 100 more games. It like saying there’s no way they can win 8 out of 10 games that’s .800 winning percentage and a 120-win clip!! Yet they just did it. I’m not picking on you b/c I’ve heard plenty of others say the same thing. But at this very moment the Twins are 100% in this race given their recent history. They were in a very similar spot in ’06 and way back with 3 weeks left in ’09 so writting this team off in this division right now is very foolish and/or just pessimistic.

      • minnesconsin - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:36 PM

        I didn’t say it was likely. But it’s not impossible, and I think Twins fans have grown fairly weary of the ability of other AL Central teams to sustain success. I’m not counting on the playoffs for the Twins this year, but I’m not writing it off. We need to consider the possibility that they’re a heck of a lot better than they’ve shown thus far in 2011.

      • tomemos - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:40 PM

        Sure, but they have to do it over the course of 97 games. Which do you think is more predictive of how they’ll play over the next 97 games: how they played for the past 10 games (very well!) or how they played for the 55 games before that (historically badly)? The answer is probably somewhere in between…but “somewhere in between” won’t get them to the playoffs. They have to play almost as well for the remainder of the season as they played for the last 10 games. I know it’s impossibly tempting to think, “THIS is their true talent! Before was just an illusion!” but that is rarely true.

        Also, remember that that 100-win clip only gets them to 86 games, which, again, might not even be enough. If the Tigers and White Sox play reasonably well for the rest of the season the Twins have essentially no chance.

      • pmcenroe - Jun 13, 2011 at 4:00 PM

        not sure where this will pop up on the thread but RE tomemos – Jun 13, 2011 at 3:40 PM

        I think the one thing you really have to consider is their schedule. For each win against inter-divisional opponents ahead of them equals a 2 game swing within the standings and the Twins have something like 60 more games against divisional opponents not to mention like 50 home games. After getting all of their healthy players back they wont have to continue to play overall outstanding baseball in order to make up games in the standings aslong at they play well against the centeral b/c of that 2 game swing.

      • tomemos - Jun 13, 2011 at 4:11 PM

        50 home games left wouldn’t be that impressive; it would be just over half the games they have left to them (97 games). Fortunately for the Twins they have 56 more at home. So, okay, that’s a point in their favor.

        I don’t think I get your point about the divisional opponents, though. Sure, they have a lot of chances to pull even. They also have a lot of chances to get buried even further. Of course they have to play great baseball (by AL Central standards, anyway); how many games can they afford to lose to their rivals?

    • tomemos - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:43 PM

      Okay, so what team *would* you declare dead? If you’re willing to say that the Nationals, Padres, Orioles, A’s, and Pirates all have a shot of making the playoffs, then you’re being consistent. If you think that any of those teams are dead, though, it suggests that you’re a wee bit blinded by your fandom. Which you should be–it makes it more fun! But don’t be surprised when non-fans see things as they are.

      • kopy - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:58 PM

        That consistency only applies to the arithmetic in the “games back” column. I personally count the Nationals and Orioles out, but that’s because I think the Phillies and Red Sox are better than the Tigers/Indians – not because I’m a Twins fan. If the Nationals and Orioles played in the AL Central, they would be alive too at 9 games back on an 8-2 run.

      • kopy - Jun 13, 2011 at 4:00 PM

        …on June 13th.

      • tomemos - Jun 13, 2011 at 4:06 PM

        That makes sense. On the other hand, it also points to another disadvantage the Twins have to overcome: every other team in the division is pretty okay. Not great, but okay. The Pirates at least get to play the Astros. The Twins have to pass the Royals (who aren’t going to win but might finish close to .500) and three teams who legitimately could win. That’s a tall order.

      • minnesconsin - Jun 13, 2011 at 5:44 PM

        The Nats, Pads, O’s, A, and Pirates have 5 division championships among them in the last 10 years. The Twins have 6 in that same time period. They’ve built up some amount of good will with their past success, and it inspires confidence in their fan base. I admit it’s not exactly rational to point to past success as an argument for future performance, but Twins fans have also been conditioned to expect failure from the gaggle of mediocre competitors in their division.

        they’ve been AWFUL this year, I realize this. but when a historically competitive team turns terrible, and then gets hot like they have of late, I gotta consider the possibility that the they’ll return to form.

      • tomemos - Jun 13, 2011 at 6:16 PM

        Of course, just like the Red Sox returned to form. The problem is that the Red Sox were bad for only a short time, and “form” for them is quite a lot of wins. The Twins were terrible until two weeks ago, and a “return to form” won’t cut it–they have to play over their heads for the rest of the season.

        Having said that, of course it’s sort of pointless to argue too fervently about what the future will hold, since no one has anything better than an educated guess.

  2. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 13, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    I look forward to tomorrow when you declare your 2011 NL Central division winner prediction as dead in the water.

  3. cur68 - Jun 13, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    I think the race in the AL East is down to the Yankees and Sox. All others are dreaming. You said the Jays were ‘a little bit more depressing’ Craig? What do you call getting crushed by a semi trailer; a fender bender?

    I’ll be happy if the Jays finish above .500 this season, frankly. My only hope are the Canucks….

    I’m starting to sound like a Mets fan aren’t I?

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