MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins

Twins slumping at the wrong time and more

The Minnesota Twins were expected to perhaps be the worst team in Major League Baseball this year. Instead, first-year manager Paul Molitor has been leading the charge for an underdog team with a can-do attitude, putting Minnesota in the playoff mix throughout the first four months and change of the season.

Now, suddenly, the Twins are going into a nasty skid.

Minnesota is picking the wrong time to find itself in freefall. While the Kansas City Royals are all but certain to win the American League Central (their first divisional title since winning the World Series since 1985) with a 9.5-game lead heading into Friday night’s action, the Twins are simply fighting to be a wild card team.

The Los Angeles Angels would currently be hosting the Wild Card game with a 57-50 mark, while the Toronto Blue Jays would be their opponent with a 58-52 mark. After adding David Price and Troy Tulowitzki at the trade deadline, it appears Toronto is going to be tough to beat in the race for the postseason, although the rotation behind Price remains questionable. Los Angeles is a team with plenty of problems including a shaky rotation and a lineup without depth, but the combination of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols is better than anything the Twins have.

Minnesota is three games behind Toronto with a 54-54 record. The Twins were rolling at the All-Star break, but have not been able to gain any traction in its aftermath. Minnesota is 5-14 since then, including a highly-damaging four-game sweep in the Rogers Centre at the hands of the Blue Jays. The schedule lightens up over the next nine games, with six against the Cleveland Indians and three versus the Texas Rangers. Both of those teams are non-contenders, and if the Twins feel a push within them, the time is now.

The main issues facing the Twins is finding a pitcher to truly rely on. The starting staff is without a true ace, with the trio of Mike Pelfrey, Phil Hughes and Kyle Gibson leading the way. All three are quality major league pitchers, but none exactly strike fear into an opposing lineup.

Tigers moving on

The Detroit Tigers fired general manager Dave Dombrowski this week, after the executive moved David Price and Yoenis Cespedes in an effort to get younger for the future. Detroit was one of the best teams throughout the first half of this decade and reached the World Series once in 2012, only to be swept by the San Francisco Giants.

Dombrowski will have no problem finding a new general manager post, but the Tigers might have an issue replacing him. Detroit has a bunch of overpaid, older players including Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera (still great, but that contract is brutal). The Tigers are a major franchise in the lineage of baseball, but rough years are ahead for this group.

  • 100%