March 30, 2023

The regular season is here: What say you about the Twins?

The Twins won their final spring game over the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-5, and now hit the road to face the Kansas City Royals Thursday for Game 1 of the 2023 season.

I intended to list a number of major league predictions for the new season, including, of course, where those Sybil the Soothsayers place the Twins in the American League Central. But the predictions business is not what it used to be.

I found a lot of news sites eager to make predictions, but they also seemed just as eager not to explain themselves. In other words, some say the Twins will finish in second place, and some say they will finish in third place, but it’s not really clear why. I guess this much is clear: Not many are picking the Twins to win the division, which is disappointing.

Data heavy sports, news, politics site Five Thirty Eight, as of 6 a.m. March 29, has the Twins finishing the season at 85-77, with a run differential of plus 41 runs. They say the Twins have a 54 percent chance to make the playoffs, but only a 34 percent chance of winning the division, which would seem to suggest that the best road to the playoffs for the Twins is via the wild card. That would be a change of pace because the AL Central was so weak last season that the division did not produce a wild card team.

The Twins finished the 2023 Grapefruit League season with a 14-15 record. They went 6-4 over their last 10 games and won their final spring tuneup over the Bucs, who don’t appear to be very good. Manager Derek Shelton, the Twins’ former bench coach, looks like he’s in for another long season in Pittsburgh. The Bucs went 62-100 in 2022.

Twins pitcher Tyler Mahle had his best start of the spring, allowing only a run over four innings with three strikeouts. He trimmed his spring ERA to 5.09.

The Twins fell behind early in Tuesday’s game, then rallied with four runs in the eighth to win. Infielder Kyle Farmer and catcher Ryan Jeffers had extra-base hits, Anthony Prato tripled and Seth Gray homered and drove in three runs.

Extra innings …

-Slugger (?) Joey Gallo, who was booed out of Yankee Stadium last season and is now trying to resurrect his career with the Twins, hit .214 this spring with 1 home run in 42 at bats. Here’s my 2023 prediction: Gallo will be gone by the trade deadline.

-And then there was this …


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.