Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wild Chance?

baseballThe Twins currently sit 1/2 game on top of the American League Wild Card standings, but with just over a month of baseball games left, is it possible that the Twins will actually win the Wild Card?

Oftentimes, the Wild Card winner is a team that blows through September with a ton of momentum. This is a good reason for why they often do well in the postseason. Take a look at recent Wild Card winners, such as the Florida Marlins (1997, 2003), the Angels (2002), the Red Sox (2004), the Mets (2000), the Giants (2002), and the Astros (2005). All these teams went to the World Series and four of them won them. (Red Sox, Angels, and the Marlins twice)

The point being that the Twins have had a huge run over the past three months, going 48-21 in their last 69 games. However, it's going to be awful hard to keep up such a high winning percantage (69.5%) for another month. Or is it?

Aaron Gleeman pointed out yesterday that the Twins may have a significantly "easier" schedule than the White Sox, their main opponent in the race unless the Red Sox, Angels, or Blue Jays sneak their way back into the picture. The Twins have the luxury of facing some weaker opponents, like the Royals, Indians, and Devil Rays. However, making assumptions based on overall records or even recent ones can be difficult, since there is some motivation to be a spoiler in September.

However, there is no "speculating" about the pitching situation. The Twins have a very unstable rotation. They have one great starting pitching in Johan Santana, a wreck in Carlos Silva, a dead shoulder on Brad Radke, a very raw Matt Garza, and big questions marks in the fifth starter. Boof Bonser has been solid, so he may well contribute plenty in September, but what about the others?

There is no way to know whether or not Francisco Liriano is coming back. However, even if he does, there is no guarantee he'll be effective. When he tried to come back earlier, he was hit very hard by the Tigers. The point is, starters can be very shaky after an injury and we are talking about a rookie here. He may be tenuious with his slider, pinching corners, and it may get him hurt bad.

Radke, of course, could give us anything as well. With a shoulder that's almost literally falling apart everytime he pitches, he could be brilliant in September or he may not start again ever. The questions don't get much easier beyond that. Silva, as mentioned yesterday, needs to be moved to the bullpen or the Twins may as well forfeit his starts. Garza could be huge down the strech, like Matt Cain last year, or he could struggle the way Liriano did last September. And if anyone gets replaced in the rotation, it's even more of a question. Scott Baker has had major issues this year and there is no telling if he'll ever get that fastball down in the big leagues.

Let's stop there. I am not meaning to try and get everyone's hopes down. The point is things could go either way. There is a certain amount of luck in each major league season. Last year, the numbers told us that the White Sox should have done worse, as well as the Twins, and the Indians should have won the division. But there are so many things in a major league season that are entirely unpredictable.

So, can the Twins win the Wild Card? Certainly, but it will take a combination of luck and continued great hitting and a relentless effort by the bullpen. The Twins simply cannot let up from here on out. Thus, I'd say the chances are around 50-50. Right now, the White Sox have had luck catch up to them. Their starters and bullpen that were so great last year are struggling. If that continues, the Twins should have a lovely opportunity presented to them. If they do make the playoffs, piecing together a 3-man rotation will be a new adventure in and of itself.

7 comments:

SBG said...

The 1995 Atlanta Braves, like every other Braves team since 1991 (except 1994, which was the strike year) won their division.

In fact, Atlanta won their division by 21 games and had the best record in the NL.

Nick M. said...

Yea, your right. For some reason, I thought they had won the Wild Card one year. I believe I was confusing that with the strike year. Thanks SBG. I'll be making the change.

SBG said...

That point aside, I too have noticed that Wild Card winners have done extremely well in the post season.

Nick M. said...

I think part of it is may be related to the positions divisonal winners put themselves in during September. That is to say that they spend much of the time trying to set their lineups and rotations, so much so that they probably loss a lot of that momentum. They stop worrying about winning because they don't have to. Wild Card winners, on the other hand, are motivated basically every game, so the playoffs won't feel that much "different."

That being said, with all these tight games against the ChiSox already, the Twins have already had plenty of tough battles to help prepare them for possible postseason series.

Nick N. said...

I see a lot of similarities between the Twins this year and the Astros last year. Got off to a horrible start, but thanks to some great pitching they put together a stupendous second half. If the Twins can duplicate what the Astros did in the playoffs last year, I'd be pretty happy.

菲梵 said...

酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店經紀,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店工作,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,

,

be said...

酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗幻想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗幻想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗幻想,
夢世界,