One of the long-standing traditions here at Fraters Libertas is my annual "Stick a Fork In the Twins, They're Done" post (a.k.a. The Elder's Divine Tine). Admittedly at times these "all hope is lost" posts have been proven to ridiculously premature. In these instances, my doom saying was doubtlessly driven more by emotional frustration resulting from the club's recent pitiable performances rather than a carefully calculated analysis of the situation at hand.
However, it is with a high level of confidence that I say today that the Twins prospects for 2009 have now been officially dashed. They're finished. Kaput. Over.
The Twins are now five-and-a-half games out of first place with a mediocre record of 54-57. They've gone 2-7 in their last nine games. And when you take a closer look at how they've lost those games, you'll see why you too should abandon all hope of a resurgence this year.
In that nine game swoon, the Twins scored 53 runs. That's an average of 5.8 runs per game. Now, their two wins were lopsided blowouts (10-1, 11-0) so take them out of the mix. You're still left with 32 runs in seven games, which is close to 4.6 runs a game. In fact, in five of these seven losses, they scored four or more runs (4, 5, 6, 7, 8). That kind of run production should get you more than two wins in nine games.
The problem is that they've given up 64 runs in the last nine games. In six of those games, their opponents scored EIGHT or more runs. The starters have surrendered 38 of these runs and the bullpen 26, numbers that neither group should be proud of.
At this time of season, if your hitters are in a slump, you can still realistically hope that they'll break out of it. Hitting does tend to come and go at times, but if your lineup is fundamentally sound you should be okay. If you have pitching.
The problem for the Twins is that they don't have the pitching now and there really is no reason to expect it to get much better before the end of the season (unless Carl Pavano performs miracles). The starters are shaky and the bullpen (with the exception of Nathan) unreliable. The pitching performances that we've suffered through over the last nine games are probably what we're going to see the rest of the way. The Twins pitching is what it is and it's not very good.
The Central Division title was up for the taking this year. The Twins unfortunately have now proven themselves to not be up for that task. It remains to be seen if the White Sox or Tigers are.