August 21, 2023

Will the Twins win the division? The answer is just around the corner

The make or break moment of the Twins’ 2023 season is here because the series of games they play over the next two weeks should determine their fate.

They play competitive teams and weaker clubs, although that weaker club is the Cleveland Guardians, and when the Twins and Guards get together, history has shown they play very close games, the kind of games that are decided by one run.

It begins Tuesday with two games at Milwaukee, then things get really interesting because the Twins come home to face the Texas Rangers for four games, followed by three more at home against the Guards. Immediately after that seven-game home stand, the Twins then hit the road to play three more games at Texas and three at Cleveland. And that should do it. If the Twins have success against the Guards, they likely have sewn up the division. If they struggle, all bets are off.

The Guards keep losing, which means the Twins now have a six-game lead in the AL Central after they took two of three games from the Pirates, including Sunday’s one-hit effort from former Cy Young award-winning pitcher Dallas Keuchel, now trying to resurrect his career with the Twins.

Keuchel allowed one hit over six-plus innings with no walks and three strikeouts, while the bullpen allowed only one more hit the rest of the way.

The Twins, though, continue to struggle to hit and score runs. They scored two runs on five measly hits and struck out 16 times as a team on Sunday. They also struck out 15 times as a team in their 7-4 loss to the Bucs on Saturday.

Bailey Ober gets the ball Tuesday at Milwaukee.

Extra innings …

-I stand corrected, Twins Territory. The Bleacher Creature is alive and well at Target Field. My son and I spent last week in the Twin Cities and saw four games. The first two had me questioning the enthusiasm of Twins fans based on the evident nonchalance of those around us — a group of people, at least in our sections, that appeared more interested in their phones than the games.

Friday’s game was better as those 300-level fans showed more energy and then Saturday was the full-meal deal. And why wouldn’t it be? We were in section 129, the bench-style seating in lower left field, otherwise known as the bleachers. And there were two or three guys who rode left-fielder Joey Gallo hard all game. Frankly, he deserved it. Gallo, who has been a huge disappointment, had a terrible series against the Bucs, striking out five times in six at bats with no hits and only one walk. He’s hitting .180 on the season.

For me, the Bleacher Creature is part of baseball. But I could tell that kind of constant chatter and heckling was not welcome by some fans in that section. Many who got up to get something to eat or drink, or to leave the game, gave those “creatures” a hard stare as they exited.


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.