Wednesday, August 6, 2008

7th Split: 7-9

Overall Record: 62-51
2nd in AL Central by 1 game

Previous splits:

7-9; 10-6; 7-9; 7-9; 13-4; 11-5

I knew it was going to be tough to finish this split with more wins than losses when the Twins dropped the first 5 games. But they rebounded well enough to have a really good chance of at least going .500 - all they had to do was beat the worst team in the league once out of 2 games.


There were about as many well-pitched games as poorly pitched, about as many strong offensive performances as weak ones. Here's what really got my attention: the Twins went 5-3 at home, 2-6 on the road. They're going to need to do better as visitors if they want to win the division.

The Twins went 7-3 vs. divisional opponents, 0-6 vs. other divisions. It's possible that the Twins can earn a playoff spot by dominating only their own division rivals. But if they do make the playoffs, they'll have to face the cream of the other divisions. So that record is going to have to get a lot better, too.

What really troubles me, though, is the bullpen. They allowed runs in 10 of 15 games in which they appeared in this split, blowing leads in the 7th inning or later 3 times and coming dangerously close in the finale vs. the White Sox. Matt Guerrier has allowed runs in 4 of his last 5 appearances. Jesse Crain allowed 5 ER in 6 IP during this split. If the Twins find themselves just a little short at the end of September, they can look to the loss of Pat Neshek as the main reason. Well, that and the failure to acquire a suitable replacement for him.

10 of the next 16 games are against opponents with losing records. The Twins must punish those teams if they're to stay in step with the White Sox.

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