For more than a week, the Minnesota Twins worked at cutting down Detroit’s division lead. With series victories and key losses by Detroit, the Twins managed to work themselves into second place and within 3.5 games of the Tigers with one month remaining.
A blown save on Wednesday followed by a Tigers victory on Thursday and another Twins loss on Friday, and what looked like a team on the rise turned into a team moving in reverse. A few difficult losses coupled with a Tiger’s winning streak, and over the span of three days the Twins went from a reasonable window to a six game deficit with under 30 games remaining.
The Twins found out firsthand last season that one game does make a difference. A streak of poor baseball in the final weeks of August kept the team from making a move, and a one-game playoff loss to the Chicago White Sox left players and fans wondering what went wrong.
This season the Twins have learned about inconsistency. While Joe Mauer has put forth a historic season and Jason Kubel has made a breakthrough, inconsistency has kept the Twins around the .500 mark through five months.
The Twins find themselves scratching to stay alive with just under four weeks and 30 games remaining on the 2009 schedule. Until the playoff vision is gone however, you can bet the team won’t give up. But any sort of surge will need to begin immediately. The Twins have seven remaining meetings with the Tigers, and those meetings are what provide life.
Back in ’06 the Twins found out what a late surge can do, last season they learned what one game can do, and this season they’ve learned all about inconsistency. Baseball is a crazy game, and the Twins have seen it all first hand. As Kirby Puckett once said, anything is possible.