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.
In a year in which the Minnesota Twins will play their final games in the Metrodome, it’s hard not to often think back about the games you attended, the moments you watched, and the feats that were accomplished under the roof and on the turf.
No matter how great it would have been to sit outdoors on the days with great weather, the Metrodome, and the player’s who took the field over the 28 years of baseball indoors have left a mark that will not soon be forgotten when Target Field is finally open.
As the Twins look to make the playoffs, and wait to take the field in Cleveland looking to wipe a gut-wrenching loss from their minds, here is a video of one of the best players to step foot on the Metrodome ground.
For the second time in his career, Joe Mauer made the cover of Sports Illustrated. It’s a rare commodity to make the cover, and Mauer is the only Twin to have made the cover for the Minnesota Twins since Matt Lawton graced it on April 30, 2001.
With nearly 600 covers of Sports Illustrated involving Major League Baseball, the Twins have all-time seen a total of 21 players make the cover. Mauer has done it the past two times, but the team has seen other stars such as Rod Carew, Kent Hrbek, and Kirby Puckett accomplish the feat too.
While Justin Morneau, a league MVP and All-Star, waits to make the newsstand, here is the Twins’ All-Time Cover Roster:
The most interesting cover includes the league’s last .400 hitter, Ted Williams, and Rod Carew, a Twin who was in a similar position to Mauer. As hard as it is to hit .400, the media’s coverage with things like a national magazine cover seems to make things harder.