I'm not worried!
In 1987, the Twins lost all 5 games after they clinched. They managed to win the World Series. The 2000 Yankees went 3-15 after they clinched. They won 3 rounds of playoffs including the World Series 4 games to 1. These are two examples of teams that have been fine.The Twins are 1-5 since they clinched, but their probable first round opponent, the Yankees, have only gone 2-5 in that same time period.
The Twins have been great at home this year going 52-25 and on the road, they end this night 40-40. The 5 games in a row they have lost have all been on the road.
The Twins haven't had their best position players. Mauer and Thome haven't played in one game since the team clinched, due to some nagging injuries. They are my MVP and runner up for the 2010 season. In place of Mauer, the Twins have had 4 games of Jose Morales and his .188/.282/.219 line and 2 games of Drew Butera and his .189/.232/.289 line. With Thome out of the lineup, the opportunity to play has been given to the monster sized bats of Nick Punto, Matt Tolbert, Alexi Casilla, Ben Revere and Jason Repko. Useful parts, but not the kind of guys that a fan would want too many of in the lineup. With J.J. Hardy also missing 5 of the 6 games, the Twins have had at least 3 of these guys in every starting lineup. In the last 6 games, the team has still managed 26 runs, while only winning 1.
The pitching has been even worse! Friday, Liriano was fine until he got sick after 3 innings. He should be ok. Jeff Manship and Alex Burnett gave up 8 of the 10 runs. Neither pitcher will be anywhere near the post-season roster. Saturday, Carl Pavano was awful, but he hadn't pitched in 8 days and should be sharper next time around. One start doesn't worry me. He gave up 7 runs in 4 innings. Glen Perkins gave up 2 runs in .2 innings. He's another guy who won't be on the post-season roster. Brian Duensing wasn't terribly sharp Sunday, but he wasn't too bad. Last night, Kevin Slowey was brutal, giving up 6 in 1.2 innings. He probably won't make the post-season roster, surely not as a starter. Manship gave up 3 more runs. Randy Flores, another guy who won't sniff the post-season, gave up a run in .2 innings. Finally we get to tonight. The pencilled in Game 4 starter, Nick Blackburn, gave up 8 runs in 4.1 innings. This is Blackburn's first hideous start since before he was sent down to the minors. Scott Baker has a great opportunity tomorrow. A good start would bump Blackburn out of a starting role. Baker is the better pitcher overall, so I am hoping Baker turns it around. The Twins were also blessed with 2.2 innings and 2 runs from Perkins tonight.
So, basically, the Twins have been crap lately! They've lost 5 in a row. Their hitting has been inconsistent, their defense has been lousy and their pitching has been crap! The good news is, a lot of the players that have been failing the last 5 games, will see little or no action in the post-season.
I look for the Twins to finish up strong, but even if they don't, they will have as good a shot of winning the world series as they had last week!