After losing an afternoon contest to Baltimore today (will the Twins ever win a noon, week-day game?!), the Twins dropped the three-game series to the Birds. One of two things happened the past three days in order for this series to be lost:
1. Being a very young team, the Twins may be experiencing trouble after very emotional wins. After taking three of four from Boston last month, the Twins were promptly swept by the Blue Jays. Then, after fighting New York to a four-game split last weekend, we promptly lost the series to Baltimore. Though it is tough to know exactly what the timbre of the clubhouse is after each game, it could very well be that the Twins (as young teams often do) think they are on “top of the world” after each big series win, and thus experience a huge letdown afterwards, as that sort of attitude is not conducive to the type of long season that baseball personifies. After each game, I have noticed that Ron Gardenhire never gets too high or too low about his players…he is very even-keeled (almost mistaken for apathy). Though I’m sure he would love to rant and rave about his players, he knows that its a long season and ups and downs are just part of the game.
2. Of course, the other option is that the Twins just ran into a hot Orioles team! The Twins pitched at least decently in each game of the series and seemed to collect all the clutch, two-out hits that usually decide ballgames, but the O’s were always one or two runs ahead due to their home-run power. One can really see how deficient the Twins are in the power category…it takes them 3-4 hits to score one run in some innings! While this approach is good in the long-run (as speed really wears down opponents, and the Twins have speed!), it can often produce frusterating results, like what happened in this Orioles series.
Either way, the Twins need to put this series behind them and focus on heading into enemy territory in Chicago. The Twins played well enough in Baltimore not to be panicking or embarassed, but we are now 2.5 games behind the Sox (after being just 0.5 back at one point). However, if there is one team in the division that I want the Twins to be chasing, it is Chicago, as the Twins most definitely have the mental edge (remember the beatings we gave them in ’02-’04?!) against Ozzie Guillen’s bunch.