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Much more likable Twins.

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Know Your Enemy: Minnesota Twins

A first look at the most hated team on the South Side

Finally! After a week of teams for which no one can muster much hatred, we’re headed to Minnesota. The Twins have been an annoyance for as long as any of can remember, doing dastardly things like “always beating the Sox” and “winning the division” and other villainous acts. My god, I hate them.

The Twins are the first divisional rival we play this year, coming off some alternatively OK-to-unwatchable baseball. We’ve got our rotations set for these games. Hopefully, as the weather turns, and it genuinely starts to feel like baseball again, our boys will make an early claim as division contenders. And isn’t that what we were hoping for at this stage in the rebuild?

The Sox are 1,180-1,104 all-time against the franchise, including the Washington Senators incarnation. So I think we know which team is better!

How Have They Been Doing, Anyway?

Dammit, they have started off pretty good. They’re 6-3, but that includes a three-game sweep of the Royals and losing two out of three to the Marlins. So does Kansas City count? It’s hard to say. The just took two of three against Houston so I reckon we can consider them good, but then again, the Astros don’t look that good.

In conclusion, it’s too damn early to tell anything. Minnesota is a team that had a disappointing 2022, an injury-riddled roller coaster that saw them running away with the division before finishing worse than .500 for the second straight season. An aggressive and lucky offseason might make them a division contender, but probably not much more.

Any Hitters to Worry About? Should I Worry About Dingers?

The Twins made a couple of moves to solidify their lineup around the always-awesome-if-healthy Byron Buxton, most notably signing Joey Gallo. Gallo is going to do Gallo things, and already is, with an OPS of 1.183 and three bombs in the early going.

Of course, their biggest move, hitting-wise, was re-signing Carlos Correa to a huge contract. It didn’t seem that Correa wanted to stay, as he signed a contract with every other team in the league before they fell through. But now he is at home in Minnesota, and despite a slow start (.492 OPS in eight games) still should be good. Right? Wouldn’t that be awesome if he wasn’t? Not for him of course, he’s a human being with hopes and fears and dreams who doesn’t want to be perceived as a failure. Who among us would? Still, I hope he hits .195 for 11 years.

And the Pitching Matchups? What of Them?

Starting pitching has been a strength for the Twinkies this year. After this series, it would be nice to say “Starting pitching had been a strength for the Twins, before Luis Robert Jr. hit 11 home runs in three games.”

Monday, April 10
Sox: Dylan Cease (1-0, 1.59) Cease’s last start against the Giants was strange. He only got through the fifth and walked five, but fanned eight and won the game. Not quite wild, not quite dominant, but still damn good.

Twins: Kenta Maeda (0-1, 1.80) Maeda has a good start against Miami, striking out nine and walking none, only giving up the one run in a 1-0 loss. It is customary and Just to say it was a “hard-luck loss.”

Tuesday, April 11
Sox: Lance Lynn (0-1, 9.00) OK, the Big Bastard looked Big Bad against the Giants, giving up eight earned runs in just over four innings of work. He wasn’t wild, just extremely hittable.

Twins: Pablo Jose López (1-0, 0.73) This is what I mean by pitching being the strength of the team so far. López, about whom I could tell you nothing, absolutely dealt against Kansas City.

Wednesday April 12
Sox: Lucas Giolito (0-0, 9.00) Man, I don’t know. He’s gone through nine innings over two starts, and got rocked by Pittsburgh. It’s beginning to look real scary.

Twins: Sonny Gray (1-0, 0.75) Gray dominated Houston and had an easy game against Kansas City, and is looking every bit the ace. Did you know his nickname is Pickles? I’m sure there’s a fascinating story behind that! Someone go look it up for me, I can’t muster the energy.

Why Do We Hate Minnesota?

What’s nice about this is that, due to their team’s decision to arrogate upon themselves the right to speak for the whole state, we don’t have to limit our hatred to the Twin Cities, which for the most part are pretty cool. Prince is from there! That’s rad.

But has there even been a state so unworthy of Prince? He’d be more at home in the weird landscape of Utah, for pickle’s sake. As anyone who has ever driven through Minnesota on I-90 knows, the state is endless flatlands, devoid of scenery, where the Great Plains turned into an inhospitable wasteland. The people claim to be nice, but are as cold as the earth, smiling through gritted teeth during eternal potluck lunches of the soul, as they ladle you inedible lutefisk.

None of us deserved Prince, but them least of all.

Why Do We Hate the Twins?

Joe Mays.

Joe Mays was a shit pitcher, a career 48-70 nonentity, with an ERA north of 5.00 and a 1.46 WHIP. He had a face like a fraternity president and a fastball like a beer league softball oaf. But he always beat the White Sox. The division-winning 2000 White Sox lost to him three times, and by 2003 he had eight wins in 10 starts against the Sox. And remember, Joe Mays was not good. He was bad!

But that is the Twins. Whether they are good or bad, there is something pestiferous about the way they play baseball, always a thorn in the side of the Sox. Their good players mollywallop us and their bad players have career stats on the South Side. They’re a podunk team run by the tightfisted scion of a crook, and still always beat us.

It infects their “nice” fans; it is anecdotal but I’ve found Twins fans to be the most unbearable visitors at Sox Park, shouting “ALL DAY” after every strikeout and swaggering around like a team that has won a playoff game since the Bush Administration. I hate that they do it, and I hate that it feels somewhat deserved.

NOTE: Due to travel and holiday I was unable to get to Twitter. Send me your hatred, and I can update.

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