The Minnesota Twins are living the high life.
The club is 13-6—second-best in all of Major League Baseball—despite the fact that much of the lineup sits mired in early season slumps.
The Twins have won six straight series to start the season for the first-time in franchise history. All the while outscoring opponents 101-70 and looking far more polished than their counterparts.
Three weeks into the season, there is very little to worry about in Minnesota, or is there?
The club has dropped the last game of a three-game series four times, seemingly phoning it in after winning the series.
This is one thing that should have the club worried.
The Twins cannot afford to let off the gas early in the season, especially against weaker competition like Kansas City and Cleveland.
If we’ve learned anything about the American League Central in recent years, it’s that every single game matters.
Two years in a row the Twins have been forced to play a 163rd game with the division pennant on the line.
A few extra wins over lesser opponents in April are just as important as dramatic September wins over Detroit or Chicago.
All 162 games count exactly the same and the Twins appear to be treating every third game as a throw-away and not a must-win situation.
Anything can happen in baseball. Much of the offense could stay locked in neutral and not overcome their early struggles. The pitching rotation could struggle as the season stretches on. The currently untouchable bullpen could breakdown at any point.
Every game is important because of those unknown factors that creep up every season.
Right now the Twins are riding high, but so were the Indians in 2002 and the Royals were looking like world beaters a year later. Neither of those teams took home the pennant.
The Twins need to establish a killer instinct and finish out some of these early season series if they want to avoid another late season pennant push that leaves the roster exhausted for the playoffs.
It may be early, but the games are important. It’s time for the Twins to start acting like it.