We’ve crossed that point. The point that we expect the Minnesota Twins to win every game and are surprised when they don’t. The MLB season is about a third of the way through being played, and Minnesota has shown no signs of slowing down.
Through the first two months of the season, the Twins have the best record in the entire league at 37-17 and have won 12 of their past 14 games. They also have the largest division lead, which is currently 9.5 games over the 28-27 Cleveland Indians.
Minnesota also has the best run differential at +112, an impressive 20 runs more than the second best Houston Astros and a staggering 118 runs better than the Indians. They also have the most home runs at 106 and are on pace to set the MLB record for team home runs in a season.
Add in the fact that they are second in batting average, second in doubles and third in fewest strikeouts, and it is safe to say this is the best hitting team the Minnesota Twins have ever fielded statistically.
There are plenty of individuals that are worth highlighting. Most prominently would be a couple of Twins that are towards the top of the rankings. First, Jorge Polanco has been steady all season and is currently second in the AL in batting average at .335. Second, Eddie Rosario is tied for first in the AL in home runs with 17 and leads the AL in RBI’s with 47.
To be 37-17, obviously there needs to be more than just hitting. The Twins pitching staff has been equally impressive, especially considering their recent history.
For starting pitchers, Jake Odorizzi, Martin Perez and Jose Berrios all have seven wins. No other team in the league has two pitchers with more than six wins. On top of that, Odorizzi leads the AL with a 2.16 ERA while Perez and Berrios are in the top 15.
For some perspective, from 2008 to 2018 the Twins ranked 29th in the MLB in ERA for starting pitchers. This season, the Twins starters rank 3rd as a unit.
More recently, the Twins got some help from an unlikely hero. After putting Michael Pineda on the 10-day Injured List, the Twins called up left-handed pitcher Devin Smeltzer from their Triple-A roster.
Smeltzer started on Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers and had a debut to remember. After being diagnosed with cancer at the age of nine, pitching in the MLB was a dream come true. The 23-year-old was able to pitch six shutout innings while only surrendering three hits. Pair that with seven strikeouts and zero walks and it was a pretty good day for the rookie.
Although attendance overall has been lower on average this year, (24,489 in 2018 to 22,079 in 2019), I expect those numbers to rise over the next few months. The Twins have one of the best pitching staffs in the league, the best hitting lineup in franchise history and look like a viable threat to still be playing baseball in October.
Get your homer hankies ready – playoff baseball will be back in Minnesota.