It’s amazing how quickly everything can change. When the Rangers beat the Twins 4–1 on Aug. 5, Minnesota fell to four games under .500. They looked listless at home, watching helplessly as Cole Hamels went the distance to beat them with a four-hitter. A realistic take on the Twins’ situation at the two-thirds mark of the season would have been to brace for more losses, and wait ‘til next year.
The very next day, the Twins fell behind 5–0 to that same Rangers team ... only to rally for a heart-stopping 6–5 victory. That marked the first of six straight wins for Minnesota, a run that has the club right back in the thick of that wild wild-card race.
One of the biggest catalysts, of all people, has been Eddie Rosario. A notoriously streaky hitter who’s often struggled badly to control the strike zone, plate discipline has suddenly become his friend, and the results have been stellar. Starting with that Aug. 6 win, Rosario has gone 12-for-32, smashing five home runs, knocking in 10 runs, and scoring 11. By the time you read this, there’s a good chance he’ll have won his first-ever Player of the Week award. Better still, Rosario might start piecing together more good streaks than bad, thanks to an improved ability to lay off pitches out of the zone.
In this completely wacky season, having an unheralded fourth-round draft pick who made far too many outs in his first two big league campaigns suddenly become the spark for a 103-loss Twins team to rebound and make the playoffs the very next year seems almost too perfect to imagine.