Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sink Or Swim, The Twins Are Jumping In

The calendar has turned to July and the Minnesota Twins find themselves barreling towards a very interesting crossroads. On one hand, they have exceeded all expectations. At 41-37, they are 4.5 games out of the AL Central lead, and holding down the second Wild Card spot. On the other hand, Minnesota fumbled through June to the tune of an 11-16 record. With divisional foes looming, the Twins are set to sink or swim.

Ahead for the Twins is an immediate opportunity to position themselves. Over the course of the next week or so, Minnesota has four games against the first place Kansas City Royals, and four games against the third place Detroit Tigers. 4.5 back of the Royals, and 1.5 games ahead of the Tigers, those eight games should provide some significant clarity.

Following the series with the Tigers, Minnesota will head into the All Star Break. It's quite conceivable that they could both be leading the division, or staring at an eight game deficit at that point. Thus far on the year, Minnesota has fared better against the Royals (3-6) than the Tigers (2-7), but that's obviously splitting hairs.

Despite racing out to not only an AL Central best record, but also American League mark in late May, the Twins have struggled with teams over .500 on the season. Both the Royals and Tigers falling into that category, Minnesota will have their hands full over the course of the next ten days.

As things stand currently, it's probably fair to suggest that the Twins are treading water. Playing roughly .500 ball (4-6) over the course of their last ten games, Minnesota hasn't made up or lost much ground. On top of that, the big league club has called up top prospects such as Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, and now Miguel Sano. In an effort to sustain the early season success, and push forward, the club has looked within.

Judging the process, Minnesota has handled things the correct way so far. Knowing they have access to a rich farm system, a surplus of pitching, and some intriguing hitting talents, developing from within remains key. As the summer wears on, regardless of what the record looks like, that strategy would seem to be the best avenue to continue on.

Being that this current Twins team is in a treading water state, with more crossroads than obvious destinations likely to appear, it would be shortsighted to suggest them being buyers at the trade deadline. Trading a marginal amount of wins in an uncertain season for what could be hampered results in the future doesn't seem like a good practice.

No matter how fun the month of May was for the Twins, it's now over 30 days in the past, and this club is at a point where it must swim forward, or fear sinking to the bottom. Another opportunity to prove their ability against some of the American League's best, Minnesota will have answers sooner rather than later.

Regardless of what has happened in recent seasons, this Twins team should not be waiting for the bottom to fall out. This roster has much more talent than any in recent memory, and there is help throughout the farm. Whether or not meaningful baseball is played in August could be determined prior to the All-Star break however.

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