This past Monday night, I attended my first Twins game this season. My buddy Luke invited me along and there wasn’t a second of hesitation. This is despite the fact that since I live in Litchfield, I knew that meant that I’d get home around midnight and would be a little tired Tuesday at work. Plus, my wife is out of the country right now, so what else did I have going on?
I couldn’t pass up the chance to watch two of the best teams in baseball kick off a series that might be a preview of a playoff matchup in the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. I was not disappointed.
The game was about as thrilling as a Monday night game in the middle of July can be. In the top of the first, we witnessed the first triple play in Target Field history, which was only the 13th in franchise history. We also saw back-to-back home runs from Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz. Talk about a way to get a crowd energized from the get-go.
From there, there was a lot of action as both the Yankees and Twins filled the bases many times and hit a combined 8 home runs for the game. In the end, Minnesota pulled off the win 8-6.
Tuesday night was even more thrilling for fans. I went to bed with the Twins up 9-5 going into the 8th inning assuming our lead was safe… I should have known better. New York put up five runs in the 8th and the Twins answered with two of their own to put them up 11-10.
The Yankees put up another two runs to take a 12-11 lead and again the Twins matched to tie the game at 12 and send it into extra innings. New York scored two more in the top of the 10th inning to take the lead. In the bottom of the 10th, it took a diving catch by former Twin Aaron Hicks with the bases loaded and two outs to seal the deal, a thrilling end to an exciting game.
Wednesday was more of the same; an exciting game with an unfortunate result. The Twins lost 10-7.
This series proved a couple things to me and fans across the state of Minnesota. First, the Twins are a legitimate team. That shouldn’t have really been a question based on the season, but this slug-fest with the Yankees showed that the Twins should have their eyes set on advancing in the playoffs.
Second, they really do need some pitching help. Scoring 8 runs, 12 runs and 7 runs seems fine and dandy in July, but it’s less exciting when you give up 6 runs, 14 runs and 10 runs. Playoff baseball tightens up big time and good pitching really matters.
There are two reasons to build up a good farm system. First, to improve your team in the long-run when you suck. Second, to trade those assets for pieces to help you win a World Series when you are good.
The Twins have spent the past 10 years sucking and building up prospects. Now, those talented prospects like Sano, Buxton, Kepler, Rosario, Polanco, Berrios and more are in the MLB ready to make a playoff run. It’s time to sacrifice some assets in order to get players that can help them right now.
Lastly, good baseball is plain fun to watch. It is easy to rip on the sport when your team only sniffs 80 wins one time in 10 years and the year they do, it seems like a fluke. Fans are excited about what this team has accomplished thus far and optimistic about what they can do in the remainder of the season… although after losing this series to the Yankees, maybe fans are experiencing some flashbacks to the past 20 years of losing to New York.
The Twins currently sit at 62-40, holding a two game lead over the surging Cleveland Indians. The trade deadline is next Wednesday, so fans are expecting some new arms to be brought into the fold to help this team make a playoff push. And really, after having the worst record in the league over the past 10 seasons, they owe us. Trade for some pitchers and let’s play some baseball in October.