(all graphs via Fangraphs)
Oh sure, today's epic fail against the Pale Hosers at the Metrodome was disappointing on so many levels. The umpiring was awful, both behind the plate and in the field. Brian Duensing pitched a gem but was robbed of the win when the best reliever in the bullpen completely shit the bed. It's also the final game at the Metrodome for the Pale Hosers, and this wasn't exactly the way I wanted to remember it. All of this made me say many, many, many bad words. But calling it a brutal loss that might cost the Twins a postseason berth is a tad over-dramatic. Going 2-6 during the previous homestand against division powerhouses Cleveland and Kansas City is the type of thing that might cost the Twins a postseason berth. Besides, this isn't even the worst loss of the season. That would be the shitshow in Oakland, when the Twins blew a 10-run lead against a weak Athletics lineup:
Blech. And it was all topped off by that blown call at the plate. Home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski called Michael Cuddyer, who represented the tying run, out a the plate even though HE WAS CLEARLY SAFE!!! It was just one unbelievably horrible night. I had trouble sleeping after that one. I'll sleep just fine tonight.
I have always found it ridiculous to blame one particular loss, no matter how heartbreaking it might be, whenever a baseball team comes up a little short of a postseason berth. It's a 162-game season! This isn't football, where one heartbreaking loss can indeed make or break an entire season. Baseball teams have many, many, many opportunities to piss away their playoff hopes. This one loss to the White Sox isn't going to cost the Twins the Central. Neither will that one loss in Oakland. It's all of the chances the Twins have had to gain ground on the Tigers, and failed to do so, that will cost them. Letting all those late leads slip away in Yankee Stadium is going to cost them. Getting swept by the Angels during their last series at the Dome is going to cost them. Going 6-6 against the Indians, and 7-5 against Kansas City, teams they should dominate, is going to cost them. Before the last series in Arlington, the Twins had lost seven of their past ten games, while the Tigers went 5-5 during that stretch. This team has lost 66 games so far this year, they're not going to miss the postseason because they didn't beat the White Sox that one time. They're going to miss the postseason because they're just not good enough to make it. It's as simple as that.