Every once in a while, in the MLB, a team comes out of nowhere and surprises us with turning things around. That’s just what’s happened this season with the Minnesota Twins. Before the season started, if you had had to predict who might have the best record in baseball by mid May, chances are the Twins would not have come to mind. It’s hard to say exactly what has changed for the Twins, other than they are just playing fantastically. Their lineup is hitting consistently well, and their pitchers are getting the job done.
Recent Wins in Toronto
The Twins really showed their stuff in a recent sweep against the Blue Jays in Toronto. They came out hot, winning the first game, eight to nothing. Games two and three went almost as well, with wins of three to zero and nine to one. The Twins are now 23-12 with a winning percentage of .657.
A few players really stood out in the series for Minnesota. Jorge Polanco had five hits, including a homerun, in Wednesday’s game. That’s his second game with five hits this season. Minnesota had four homeruns in total, during the series. One of them came from Eddie Rosario, who’s hit 13 so far, which is the most of any hitter in the American league. On the defensive side of things, Kyle Gibson took the mound and struck out a career-high 11 batters.
Any way you slice it, it was quite the series for the Twins. The Blue Jays barely knew what hit them. We’re almost a month and a half into the season now but there’s a long way to go. Fans and experts alike are beginning to speculate whether the Twins are this season’s breakout team, or they’ve just had an unusually good start to a season that might level out in the end.
How to Explain Minnesota’s Turnaround
It’s obvious that Polanco is a big factor for the Twins. With a batting average of .344 at the moment, he’s one of the best hitters in the league. And then there’s Martin Perez, who’s increased his fastball by a few miles per hour and figured out how to throw a cutter. He’s now a very effective pitcher and quite the steal, as Minnesota picked him up as a cheap free agent.
Can the Twins Keep it Up?
Teams get hot and cold just like players do. So we could see the Twins begin to falter or go through a slump. But their chances of winning the American League Central Division have gone up considerably since the beginning of the season. Experts expected the Twins to be just over .500 and have about an 11 percent chance of winning the division. Now they are projected to win over 90 games and have about a 50 percent chance of winning the AL Central. This is partly due to Cleveland’s struggles so far this season. But even if the Twins don’t stay quite as hot as they have been, this amazing start to the year gives them a good chance of making the playoffs.
And we should remember that although the Twins had a rough year last year, they did make the playoffs in 2017. So perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised that they’re doing so well this season. With a few key improvements, they are playing up to their potential. If Perez keeps pitching the way he has, and Polanco stays hot, the Twins could be one of the teams to beat in the American League. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It is only May, after all.