Prevailing wisdom in baseball suggests there is some intangible quality that allows some players (and certain teams) to have success in big games. Lack of said clutchiness, they tell us, is what makes teams like the Twins struggle in October.
I don’t buy it. Never have.
No doubt it sounds bad that the Twins haven’t won a postseason series in eight years. In fact, they haven’t even won a single game in six. That represents a losing streak of… nine games.
In six of the nine games (games 2-4 in 2004 and the entire series last season against the Yankees) – the Twins came into the series as a clear underdog. The only time one can make the argument that the Twins should have won was in 2006.
That is all to day that the Twins have only performed slightly worse than they should have been expected to in postseason play over the last decade or so. Yet the prevailing narrative of the 2000’s is that the Twins aren’t capable of competing in October.
While I am not making any predictions, I think to bet against the Twins based solely on past performances would be a mistake. This is not the same team that limped into the postseason thanks in part to a weak division a year ago, and is a far cry from the squad that was swept by the A’s in 2006.
Generally speaking, I am a regular season guy. It’s a shame that, for example, the 2006 Twins are remembered more for the sweep in October than for the 96 wins they earned during the regular season. The 2010 season will be a success no matter what happens from this point on.
That said, I hope they do put things together and make a run deep into October, mostly because I am a Twins fan and it would be a lot of fun to see the team celebrate some October success. A side benefit would be the end of the silliness about how this team can’t compete against the Yankees.