I'm a die-hard, and don't think that six games out is all that bad. Even in August. Even if it makes you fourth. Even if that's fourth out of five teams.
One could say that the Twins aren't playing so well this year. I'd be hard pressed to disagree. There are arguments related to the injuries and loss of some of the spirit and muscle behind the bats with certain players missing and all of that.
Hogwash, I say. Then I acknowedge that they would have been better with a healthy Mauer, instead of waiting for a couple of months for him to get over his sore legs (and whatever it was that caused them). It'd be great if Morneau would finally recover from the concussion and stop getting aches and pains and migraines. It sucked that our sparkling new shortstop, Nishioka, broke his leg. And our homer-hitting old guy, Thome, is, well, exhibiting old-guy aches and pains.
We've got some solid stand-up guys in the likes of Cuddyer and Kubel. Cuddy and Kubel have been the center of the office kibitz for a while now. Lamenting has occurred that they didn't trade them for some good future prospects.
I am very glad that they didn't get traded. Why would the team want to trade away two of their more productive and reliable players? The only thing that would do is put mystery in the future. Keep their bats in the line up. Rearrange the line-up to keep every other player likely to get on base. Small ball is our thing, and these guys do that well, and then throw in some power hits from time-to-time, too.
The team's got a good farm system behind it, and everytime they bring up an eager young bat, he excels. Look at the output of Plouffe and Valencia, and the speed and energy of Revere. They're getting the hits, and making some of the plays, covering for our missing players well.
Now, to be fair, there are some rough spots in the fielding. There was a recent 20-6 loss to the Rangers that they struggled through, and it could be argued that fielding was to blame for a lot of that. There were a couple of homers, and you can't field those, but otherwise, there were a lot of doubles and missed double-play opportunities that should have beeen made. Fielding flubs that shouldn't happen to a MLB team, especially in such volume in one game. Sure, every once in a while, but not enough to give 14 or more runs in a game!
Pitching, though, seems to be their weak point. Everyone says that, though, don't they? I'm not one for the "quality start," but it is concerning to see that only one or two starting pitchers made it to the seventh inning. That's fine, if that's how you want to play, and your bullpen can pull out three or four innings a night. I think they should be able to do that, but the Twins bullpen can't.
Some of our relievers just shouldn't be there. Yeah, when he's hot, Miljares is hot. When he's not, though, it can cost the Twins a three or four point lead. He took a 9-2 lead the other night and turned it into a 9-5 lead. The Twins ended up winning 9-6, but there were a couple opportunities that the A's had to bring that back to their side.
I like watching baseball. More than that I like watching Twins baseball ("root, root, root for the home team," the song says). I prefer it when they win. I'll take the losses, though. As long as the play is good.
There are fifty-eight games left in the Twins season this year. They just need to win seven more of those than each of the three teams ahead of them in the division. That's all.