MINNEAPOLIS — In the aftermath of the Twins’ 2-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Monday night at Target Field, Jose Berrios and Jorge Polanco used the exact same phrase.
“We turn the page and tomorrow will be another day,” Polanco said through an interpreter.
“Tonight we lose 2-0, so tomorrow it’s another day, so we turn the page and come tomorrow to try to win the game,” Berrios said after an impressive outing in which he gave up one run and five hits with 10 strikeouts in eight innings.
When it comes to the 2019 Twins, this isn’t just lip service. Even after losing to the defending World Series champions on Monday, the Twins (47-24) still had the best record in baseball. One big reason for this success is the Twins’ ability to bounce back from defeat.
The Twins’ loss Monday was their second in a row — they lost 8-6 to Kansas City on Sunday — marking the fifth time they have dropped back-to-back games this season. You know how many times a two-game losing streak has turned into a three-game skid? If you guessed zero, you’re a winner.
Manager Rocco Baldelli’s club has been among the most resilient in baseball.
After losing 10-4 and 7-1 in Houston in April, Minnesota responded by winning four in a row. The Astros cruised to an 11-0 victory on April 30 at Target Field before the Twins took the next two games in the series and won seven of the next nine. A 14-3 loss to a good Rays team in Tampa on May 30 was followed by three consecutive victories at Tropicana Field.
Continuing this pattern of ending any and all losing streaks at two games — is that even a streak? — isn’t going to be easy. After losing to 2016 AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello on Monday, the Twins will send Michael Pineda (4-3, 5.04 ERA) against 2012 AL Cy Young award winner David Price (4-2, 3.52) on Tuesday night at Target Field.
The Red Sox got off to an awful start this season, going 3-8 as they played their first 11 games of the season on the West Coast. But since dropping to 6-13 on April 17, the Red Sox have gone 34-21 and are now 5.5 games back of the Yankees in the American League East and are tied with Texas for the second wild card spot in the AL. Boston’s win over the Twins was its sixth in a row.
What makes this series interesting for the Twins is it gives them a good opportunity to judge themselves against another top team in the AL. Some with the Twins have bristled when it has been pointed out that many of their victories have come against lesser opponents, but the reality is the American League isn’t that strong this season.
There appear to be four very good teams — the Yankees, Rays, Twins and Astros — and three to four good teams. That list includes the Red Sox, who might be headed toward the very good group, Cleveland, Texas and, maybe, Oakland.
It’s a credit to the Twins that they have made the most of their opportunity to beat inferior teams, but the real judgment of where they stand comes when they play the upper-echelon clubs. In 26 games against teams that have records above .500, the Twins are 13-13 this season. That means they are 34-11 (.756) against the teams they should beat.
That’s a credit to them, as is the resilience they have shown in the first three months of this season. Will that resilience continue to be a theme for the 2019 Twins? Will three-game losing streaks continue not to be a thing for Baldelli’s club? We’ll know more after Tuesday.