The Last Windrow: At the midway point of the season, Twins forecast isn't too far off
I predicted that the Twins had a chance to win the division and/or get into the playoffs as a wild card team. I'm feeling better about that prediction. But, as we've seen in the past, things can change after the All Star Game. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
It's time to check the record.
No, I'm not talking about inflation, the stock market, political campaigns or the price of beef on the hoof. I'm talking about checking the record of the Minnesota Twins at the halftime of this 2022 season.
Those of you who actually keep track of my early Twins predictions will probably be the only people who might have a dust mite of an interest in my prediction, but I think I owe it to those of you who do keep track that I own up to my forecast.
After all, some of you actually brag about how good or bad my forecasts turn out. They've been on both ends of the spectrum.
So, on April 2, I stuck my neck out and gave a prediction of 86 wins and 76 losses. If you divide the number in two, the result amounts to a predicted halftime win/loss tally of 43 wins and 38 losses.
As this column is written the Sunday before this column comes to press, the Twins are featuring a record of 50 wins and 44 losses. So the baseball barometer is above my prediction for the pinstripers.
I wrote in that prediction column that I felt the season's success or failure would have something to do with how Byron Buxton's game went. To a degree that has happened in the first half.
So far, with just a few minor injuries, Byron has managed to crank out 23 home runs while his batting average is hovering at the low level of .218. What this tells me is that Byron is either hitting a home run every time he steps up to the plate or is striking out or finding another way to make an out or take a walk.
But, make no mistake, he is an essential cog in how the Twins will wind up the season.
I also predicted that with the additions to the Twins lineup, there would be very few easy outs in the batter's box. That has proven true. But it has been perplexing to me to see the team leave so many runners on base with that batting lineup.
And then the Twins score multiple runs in the very next game. I think I know why the manager's hair is turning prematurely gray. He can't figure it out either.
My prediction also worried about the pitching staff. Early on that unease was justified, but the Twins now seem to be stabilizing the pitching, especially the long inning pitchers. The bullpen is still a crapshoot and more than one game has been lost in the late innings when the team was leading going into the ninth.
If the bullpen can somehow generate a valid closer, this team could go far. The trade deadline is coming up.
I did make an error in judgment when I wrote that the main competition in the division would come from the White Sox. They have struggled so far and Cleveland has been both hot and cold. The Twins can win the division if that continues into the second half.
But both the Sox and the Guardians are coming on strong lately.
I predicted that the Twins had a chance to win the division and/or get into the playoffs as a wild card team. I'm feeling better about that prediction.
But, as we've seen in the past, things can change after the All Star Game. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
If Mr. Buxton can keep from crashing into that outfield wall and a fireball closer can be found, I'm feeling pretty good about my prediction this year. We'll see.
The game isn't over until it's over, as Yogi used to say.
See you next time. Okay?