Making the Playoffs

Published: Jun 20, 2006 2:04 PM

The Twins have roled off 7 straight victories and improved to .500 for the first time since April. Due to the success, some fans are surely starting to dream of a playoff run. I decided to give a look at just how realistic the thought of the Twins making the playoffs would be. Obviously what's going to make it tough is the two teams that are ahead of the Twins, Detroit and Chicago. Both continue to win game after game, so all the Twins have been able to do is try not to lose more ground.

Detroit is on pace to win 107 games. That's unlikely, and I predict they'll win 90-95. Chicago is on pace to win 103 games, and I think that's entirely possible. They won 99 games last season and in most people's eyes they're a better team than they were last year. To win the division, I'll assume 103 games is the number to beat. What will the Twins need to do to pull off 103 wins?

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They're currently 34-34 which means they'd have to finish with a record of 69-25—a .734 winning percentage. The chances of playing .734 baseball over 94 games is pretty low—nearly impossible.

How about the wildcard? Last year the wildcard winner in the AL, New York, won 95 games. The Twins will have to finsih the season with a 61-33 record—that's a .649 winning percentage—to pull off 95 wins. That's a bit more reasonable, but still pretty tough to pull off. Given that the Twins still haven't proven they can play well on the road (against quality teams) and within the division, odds aren't good that they'll pull it off.

Examples from last year

Comebacks like the Twins would need have certainly been done before, even last year. On June 20th, 2005 the Yankees sat with a 36-33 record and went on to win 95 games and make the playoffs. Houston was in real bad shape with a 29-39 record on June 20th, 2005. They went on to win the NL wildcard with an 89-73 record. The differences are that the Twins aren't the Yankees, they'll likely need more than 89 wins to take the wildcard and they don't have a rotation of the 2005 Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite and Roy Oswalt.

Hopefully this won't discourage you from keeping an interest up for the rest of the year. The Twins could still play well through the rest of the season and possibly put a scare into other teams. They still have two of the most exciting starters in baseball in Santana and Liriano and they have young hitters like Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel that will be a part of future playoff runs. There's a lot to enjoy this season, even if playoffs are unlikely. At least we're not Kanas City.

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