If you told a Twins fan before the start of the season that the team would have 56 wins, a new home run record and lead the American League Central before the all-star break, that fan would be thrilled (and possibly a tad skeptical).
All of that and more has happened, making the 2019 season a welcome surprise for Twins fans. Many of us thought the Twins would be good, but perhaps not this good.
But here’s the problem: A month ago the Twins led the division by 11.5 games and now that lead has shrunk to 5.5 games after Sunday’s extra-innings loss to the Texas Rangers. Meanwhile, the second-place Cleveland Indians, the defending AL Central champs, are heating up. The Tribe are undefeated in July at 5-0, while the Twins are 3-3.
The Twins were red hot through May and then their winning pace slowed, largely due to injuries. The all-star break comes at the right time, not only so the team can rest, but that injured players C.J. Cron, Eddie Rosario, Jake Odorizzi and Willians Astudillo can get ready or closer to ready for second-half play. The Twins miss Rosario who leads the team with 60 RBI.
Despite the loss on Sunday, pitcher Kyle Gibson struck the right note for the remainder of the season.
“I think if you asked us April 1 if we had a 5 1/2-game lead in the division at the All-Star break, everyone would be pretty happy,” Gibson told MLB.com on Sunday. “And today stings a little bit, losing in extra innings, but if we win the rest of the series the rest of the year, once again, we would be pretty happy. So perspective is a big thing in trying not to hang on every loss, hang on every win and trying to remain consistent.”
-The Twins lost 4-1 in 11 innings on Sunday. Gibson pitched one inning, then turned the ball over to four relievers who gave up only one run before reliever Adalberto Mejia got the ball in the top of the 11th. He served up a three-run home run and that was the game.
-The Twins did little to untie the game. They left 10 men on base and were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.