With a long six-month, 162 game schedule, it’s easy to shrug off a blown game or a tough loss. The next day the team can head back to the field and make it easier to forget. Nonetheless, the bad loss or blown game did happen and it does count in the standings when the season ends in the fall.
Last season the Minnesota Twins missed the playoffs by one game, and an extra game added onto the long schedule at that. The reason for missing out by one lone game can be attributed to many different moments, but overall it was the 14-game road trip at the end of August that has been blamed.
In that two week span, a trip that that put the Twins in Oakland, Los Angeles, Seattle and Toronto before they returned to their home comfort zone, the Twins struggled to close out games. They went 5-9, and the losses were late-game, blown leads that devastated the club with a month remaining.
The Twins blew five saves (three by Nathan) to account for nine of the losses, and all nine losses came by two runs or less. The trip out west by no means ended the team’s season, but for a team that missed the postseason by one game, in the 163rd game of the season, it was an easy scapegoat.
After a tough loss like the one in Oakland on Monday, arguably the most difficult loss to swallow thus far, it’s easy to say, “it’s just one game.” That taken literally is true, but if there is one team and one fan base that can attest to the fact that each game counts, it’s the Minnesota Twins.
The feeling last season when the Twins starred up at the scoreboard after a 1-0 loss in one extra game, that placed them one game back in the standings, is unforgettable. Players sitting in the dugout wondering where it went wrong, and fans watching at home looking for a reason why it got to that point was gut-wrenching.
No player, no coach, no organization, and no fan wants to be in that situation. The Twins have faced it once, and know what one game can do. One game shouldn’t make anybody lose hope, but one game cannot be shaken off, and if there is anybody who should know it, it’s Minnesota.