It’s long been established that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Winning 30 games in a 162-game marathon season is just a sprint.
First-year manager Rocco Baldelli has so far pushed all the right buttons. The impressive start has established that the first-place Twins’ plan for 2019 is working. They are 21-12, one of the best records in MLB.
Baseball analytics has arrived in Twins country thanks to the direction of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. The Twins have broken from their old ways. It’s taken a couple of years and a shake up here and there.
Despite the firing of popular manager Paul Molitor and the retirement of Joe Mauer, the Twins are off and running. It’s all about the numbers now; the game has become a science built around percentages. The numbers say everything has to count.
So far, the Twins are hitting home runs at a record pace. Fifty-three percent of their runs scored have been scored on home runs.
Left fielder Eddie Rosario hit more home runs in March and April than any Twins player in history. Yes, more than legends Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva or Kirby Puckett. Rosario leads the American League with 12 home runs. The Twins are fourth in MLB with 59 homers, and they are second in doubles with 71.
The power surge makes a difference. The Twins are getting ahead in the count and forcing pitchers to throw fastballs for strikes. Then they are driving the ball into the gaps and into the seats.
Also, defensively they are fielding the baseball, making the routine plays in the field. Their starting pitching has been outstanding, led by ace Jose Berrios who is 5-1, and lefty Martin Perez has been lights out — he’s 5-0 with two shutouts.
On the back end, they have been good at finishing the game. They are first in baseball in save percentage at 90.9.
They have a long way to go, and that is no secret. Even losing two of three in New York last weekend to the Yankees has not stalled this team’s resolve to consistently get ahead of their opponents and add to their leads.
Enjoy Twins baseball in 2019. This is a good group of guys. They have a diverse group of players who are playing hard and enjoying the game.