After stumbling to a horrendous 17-37 start, the Twins were able to turn things around and win 24 of 35 games leading up to the All-Star break. Amazingly, just six weeks after standing 16.5 games out of first place, they had put themselves in position to potentially overtake first place with an extremely successful homestand to open the second half.
Unfortunately, the 12-game stretch against division foes that came to a close yesterday could not be described as extremely or even moderately successful. It can only be viewed as a bitter disappointment. Given the opportunity to gain vital ground on two AL Central frontrunners while playing at Target Field -- where they'd gone 14-4 since the start of June -- the Twins failed to take advantage, despite sporting a roster that is as close to full-strength as it's been in months.
They won only six of the 12 games and went 3-5 against the division-leading Tigers and Indians.
By avoiding total catastrophe in the homestand (which seemed possible after they dropped their first two against both Cleveland and Detroit), the Twins remain fringe contenders, but this was a costly whiff. They now sit seven games out, with three teams in front of them and a rough 10-game road trip through the AL West on deck.
At this point it seems far more plausible that the Twins will consider themselves sellers by the time July 31st rolls around than that they'll be close enough to first place to justify the expense of valuable resources for a short-term upgrade.
That's a tough dose of reality, but the Twins have no one to look at but themselves. When you get past all the excuses, there's one number that really stands out as the reason they find themselves in their current position: a 1-8 record against the Tigers.