Opening Day Take One: So Complicated (Or Not)
For previous seasons, I have written very detailed summaries about the Twins’ chances in the upcoming season. This year, however, I think that all the storylines have been covered ad nauseum. We are all nervous about Nathan, Morneau, everyday Casilla, Mauer’s health, and the bullpen.
Thus, instead of an in-depth analysis, here is a quick look at the other teams in the division and how I think we stack up against them:
Cleveland Indians: This team is a mess. From what I see, it will be years before they compete for anything.
Kansas City Royals: Are probably still a year or two away from a serious run at winning baseball, but could seriously begin that process at any time. Still make too many dumb mistakes to consistently win ballgames. Both pitching and hitting is improving, however, to the point where expecting to sweep them (even on their turf, like in previous years!) is unrealistic.
Detroit Tigers: Good luck figuring this team out year-to-year. They have enough general talent to compete, but their streakiness is incredible. Remember who was leading the division at the AS break last year? I believe it was the Tigers (I know it wasn’t us). Then…complete collapse. I don’t see them putting up enough of a fight to win the division unless they put on a huge streak in the waning months.
Chicago White Sox: The team that can challenge us because of their pitching (especially bullpen) and power hitting. That being said, they better have a pretty big lead heading into that final month, because we OWN them (especially on our turf) come September.
I won’t say that the Twins will waltz away with the division in 2011, but I think it is clear that another division title is easily within our grasp. If key guys stay healthy and get their innings/at-bats, I think we’re still the favorites to repeat.