People always talk about how offense is what brings in the fans. And historically, that's been true. You can track attendance and offense, and there's a pretty good correlation there. And yes, I know correlation does not necessarily mean causation, but it does not necessarily not mean it, either. Most fans, especially casual fans, like to see runs scored.
But you know, when you follow a team and their pitching staff has been as bad as the Twins' staff has in recent years, it's a lot of fun to see a low-scoring, well-pitched game. And of course, it's a lot more fun to see that sort of game when you're winning it. Recently, the Twins have won a good share of that sort of game. And it's been a lot of fun.
Phil Hughes pitched last night, and while he might not have quite been dominant he was pretty close. Seven innings, seven strikeouts, seven hits (all singles), only one man past second base. And he needed to be that good, because the Twins only got four hits. One of those hits was a home run by Plouffe, which was a big insurance run. Somehow, they also got stolen bases from Mauer and Kubel. One can only assume this was Gardy adapting to the National League style of ball.
It's been asked just how optimistic we can be about this team. It seems to me that part of being a fan is to be overly optimistic. Not 162-0 level optimistic, maybe, but still. Every year, even Cubs fans start the season by thinking, "Maybe this will be the year." And you know what? Almost every year some team that everyone thought would be lousy comes up and contends all season. Sometimes they make the playoffs. Sometimes they even win the World Series. In spring training of 1987, no one was giving the Twins a chance. Ditto spring training of 1991, when they'd finished last the year before. The 2001 Twins had been candidates for contraction, and they led for a good share of the season before fading at the end. In fact, while you didn't have the sort of media then that we have now, I suspect no one gave the 1965 Twins much of a chance in spring training, either.
Now, does that mean this team is a World Series team? No. It doesn't mean anything of the sort. What it does mean, though, is that you can't never always sometimes tell. It's easy to look at those Twins teams in retrospect and say they were good teams. At the time, though, no one really believed it until they started winning and kept winning.
I have no idea what's going to happen over the next four months. What I know is that it's almost Memorial Day, and we're two games over .500. If the season ended today, well, a lot of teams would be shocked, because they think there's 115-120 games left. But if the season ended today, the Twins would finish second and would miss the playoffs by a half game. Will that happen? Who knows? But it could happen. It's possible. So why not be optimistic about it?
Having swept San Diego, the Twins take a well-earned day off, then move up the coast to take on the San Franciscos for three games. These two wins are, of course, the start of a season-ending 120-game winning streak. We're still on track for 141-21!