Twins unlikely to win World Series

Looking at the probable postseason teams, the Twins are in the middle of the pack.

Hold your Homer Hankies Twins fans. They might have won their third-consecutive division title, but the Minnesota Twins are still a few strides short of a return to the World Series.

The Twins guaranteed themselves another trip to the playoffs with an 8-2 victory over Mark Buehrle and the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 20, but they might want to put the champagne back on ice and talk about what they need to do to win a world championship.

With new names turning up on the lineup card every day, a lack of bullpen depth and less team chemistry than last year’s team, which fell short of a World Series appearance, the Twins have, if anything, taken a step back from a year ago.

Looking at the probable postseason teams, the Twins fit right into the middle of the pack.

The American League East will once again provide this year’s American League World Series contender, but they might not be wearing pinstripes. The Boston Red Sox might finally have what it takes to overcome the New York Yankees.

Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling have the ability to shut down the Yankees’ potent offense the same way Schilling and Randy Johnson did with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. Former Twin David Ortiz has brought a big stick to Boston, and he is a key component to a lineup that can easily put up 10 runs on some of the best defenses around the league.

The Yankees, however, will once again take a business-as-usual approach to the playoffs with a core of seasoned veterans and a few expensive additions. Unfortunately, George Steinbrenner might have proven again that money can buy a championship in baseball.

Over in the National League, the wildcard favorite Chicago Cubs share the same bullpen woes as the Twins. The “Lovable Losers” have shaken off last year’s stage fright but still lack the bullpen to pitch late in close games. Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano are also bound to get hit hard at least one game in each series they play. Above all, the Cubs lack the ability to manufacture runs with a team juiced full of power hitters.

With some big bats of their own, the St. Louis Cardinals are looking unstoppable as the season comes to a close. The Cardinals have been juggernauts at the plate all year, and paired with a gold-glove caliber defense, they are sure to stay on path toward the National League Championship Series.

The only National League team that might be able to contend with the Cardinals is the Los Angeles Dodgers. With arguably the best bullpen in baseball, led by Eric Gagne, the Dodgers also pose a threat behind the plate with the bats of Adrian Beltre and Shawn Green.

Even if the Twins can get past the Oakland Athletics, the Red Sox and the Yankees, the National League will provide a strong contender for the title. Sorry Twins fans, but when the dust settles, Torii Hunter might have to cancel his trip to Disneyland for another trip to the orthodontist.

It isn’t a question of whether the Twins are good enough to win the World Series. Everyone else is just too good to let them win it all.

Mike Durkin welcomes comments at [email protected]