Baumann: The Twins likely aren’t cursed, but they may have hit their ceiling

From SABR member Michael Baumann at The Ringer on October 8, 2019:

The Minnesota Twins lost to the Yankees on Monday night by a score of 5-1. It is their 16th consecutive postseason loss, dating back to 2004, 13 of them at the hands of the Yankees. In the past 40 years, the Twins are 0-6 in playoff series against the Yankees, and 5-2 against everybody else. On a day when the Rays, Cardinals, and Nationals all won emphatic victories to extend their seasons, only the Twins capitulated.

Ordinarily, the Yankees-Twins postseason rivalry, if you can call it that, is symbolic of the domineering might of New York against the pluck and guile of an outgunned Midwestern club. But in 2019, the Twins and Yankees were built in a similar fashion: around offense, particularly the home run. This year’s Twins and Yankees posted the highest and second-highest single-season team home run totals in baseball history, and the second- and fourth-highest team slugging percentages. Both entered the postseason with serious question marks about their starting rotations; in fact, with Yankees ace Luis Severino limited by injury, one could make the argument that the best starting pitcher in this series was Minnesota’s José Berríos.

For so long, the Twins embodied the ethos of Brad Pitt–as–Billy Beane in Moneyball: “If we think like the Yankees in here, we will lose to the Yankees out there.” The 2019 Twins, by contrast, were built to challenge clubs like the Yankees on their own terms, and sure enough, they lost to the Yankees out there.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 8, 2019. Last Updated: October 8, 2019.