What hurts most is that this series could've been won. Instead, it was lost.
All of the lopsided differences, all the salaries, all the statistics, all the intangibles - all of it could have meant nothing. This could have been a reminder of how little we know, of the wonder that can be contained in a single game, of how inequalities can be overcome.
When I see a matchup like this last series, I think of an interview I conducted with Terry Ryan five or so years ago. I was quantifying some players and at some point, he felt the need to point out "The game is a GAME." He wasn't trying to emphasize that it was unimportant. He was pointing out that there are a million different ways to win a game. Some play it one way, and some play it a different way.
The Twins tried to play this series by leaning heavily on their pitching and stringing together hits. They did so because they just didn't have enough power to do it any other way. Joe Mauer was being pitched around, Justin Morneau was out (as was Joe Crede), and Jason Kubel might as well have been blindfolded.
They also, by the way, didn't have the speed, or at least don't know how to use it. Denard Span and Nick Punto were both decent threats, and Orlando Cabrera showed he can still guile his way around the bases a bit, but that's where it ends. One could argue that Carlos Gomez should've been in the lineup more, but anyone stating that needs to be sentenced to actually watching Gomez.
Gomez, of course, was responsible for a couple of miscues over the weekend, as were several other Twins. Any number of things could have gone a little differently - umpire calls, baserunning blunders, laughable at-bats and (maybe above all) reliever implosions. If any number of them goes some other way, everything is different.
That's the problem with playing the way the Twins were forced to play this series - there is so little margin for error. Those rallies and innings that you're trying to chain together are only as strong as the weakest link. And yet, two of the three games were there for the taking, like an umpire sitting ten feet from a fair ball. They were RIGHT THERE. Sometimes several times.
That's what hurts the most. Not that the Twins were a better team. I think by almost any objective measure, they weren't. But they still could have won this damn thing. Instead, they lost it.
I've got a whole list of things to talk about this offseason. For those Phils fans out there who are hoping this site will once again become the Phils Geek site, I think you'll be disappointed, though The Voice of Reason™ and I will certainly be watching those games. But I just anticipate too much Twins stuff to talk about this offseason.
Don't believe me? Well, you can start with 137 pages of offseason analysis, if you like. That's how long the new TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook is, and you can download it now at TwinsCentric.com. I'll talk more about it tomorrow when we officially release it and dive into the offseason, but if you can't wait to turn the page (and who could possibly blame you?) click on over there and check it out.