Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Shift Instead of a Reversal

72 hours ago, there was no question the Twins should be working towards this year's postseason. They were six games back (five of the wild card) with 70 games left in the season. And thirty of those games were versus Detroit, Cleveland and or some random opponent while Detroit played Cleveland.

After a three-game sweep, the temptation is to think that everything has changed. The reality is that not much has. The lead is now nine games (seven behind the wild card), but there are 67 games left, and 27 where they essentially control their rivals ability to win.

And it's not like the Tigers dominated the Twins. The Tigers eeked out three wins, partly because the Twins played some bad baseball and partly because they caught some bad breaks. And it included three quality starts by Twins pitchers, extending their streak of quality starts to seven, which bodes well for the second half of the season.

The offense, as it has all season, needs some more firepower, but that wait appears to be nearly over. Not that anything is likely to happen in the next couple of days. History suggests that a trade like that doesn't happen until shortly before the trade deadline, and it has nothing to do with Terry Ryan's predilection for patience. Either a trade deadline produces a flurry of deals or very few, but either way, there are precious trades involving buyers and sellers prior to the day of the 31st.

Which brings us to the one change that likely has happened. Prior to this series, Ryan probably would have pulled the trigger on an available deal earlier if it was there. Now, I'm not sure that is true. He may wait until the deadline gets a little closer before committing one way or the other.

Given the Twins upcoming schedule that would seem prudent. The Twins have three games this weekend versus an Angels team that looked far superior than the Twins a month ago. And after a series in Toronto, they'll face Cleveland on the road for three more games. That series concludes about 48 hours before the trade deadline, which should provide plenty of time to make a trade, be it as a buyer or seller.

Think that might be cutting it a little close? Well, consider how much has changed in the last 72 hours.


Dwade said...

I completely agree that the season is not over and that while it looks like 72 hours has changed everything, not all that much is different. I disagree with you that TR can afford to wait until after the Cleveland series ends to make a deal. Unlike Detroit, Cleveland has completely overmatched the Twins so far this year. I don't mind waiting until after this upcoming series, or the one in Toronto, but I'd like to see a new bat already in the lineup when we have to face the Indians next.

Walter Hanson said...

I think the Twins can make a run, but the injury situation should prompt Teri Ryan to make a deal for a right hand power bat that can play OF and be willing to play DH once Michael C. comes back (can anybody say Sammy Sosa assuming he's healthy). One of the prized minor league pitchers will do the job won't it?

And a lot of the reasons why we've struggled so far if they just get a little better will mean good news:

* Nick Punto hitting .250 in the second half if not .280 or more.

* the entire rotation being solid so despite bad run support we're competitive.

* take care of business with Cleveland and Detroit. (5-12) right now with 19 games left. We can easily gain on both of them just by taking care of business.

What do you think?

Walter Hanson
Minneapolis, MN