The AL Central featured two strong contenders in the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins. Neither made it past the ALDS as both teams had a rough finish.
I am fully aware that I am biased every season when it comes to the Cleveland Indians.
I expected them to win the American League Central in 2019 and I was fully in the boat that the team could return to and even win the World Series. Nothing wrong with optimism, right?
That outcome was obviously not the case as the Indians didn’t even qualify for the postseason after losing five straight games in the final week of the regular season.
The Minnesota Twins took the AL Central crown with an impressive record of 101-61. The team set offensive records and looked built to fight for a World Series berth. But one key stat was forgotten. That was the fact the Twins entered the postseason with 13 consecutive playoff losses.
The Twins will begin the 2020 season with that number up to 16 straight.
It is truly remarkable to lose 16 straight postseason games. Of course this group in Minnesota was not around for all the losses. Yet the fans have been and I can’t imagine it has been too much fun.
The New York Yankees have been the boogeyman for the Twins as 13 of the 16 losses have come against the Evil Empire. The only other losses came in a 2006 ALDS sweep by the Oakland A’s. The last playoff win for the Twins came back in 2004 against the Yankees, only to lose three straight to begin this painful streak.
I was going to say this streak is worse than the Indians’ disappointing finishes since 2016. The difference is that the Twins won a World Series in 1991. Even more generations of Indians fans are still waiting to reach that peak.
The Yankees and Houston Astros were clearly the top two teams in the AL this year. It is just still tough to believe the Twins got swept again and couldn’t even take one game. Though to be honest I’m not sure the Indians would have done better.
The Indians took plenty of criticism for winning an easy division in 2018. Hopefully, for both the Twins and the Indians, the other three teams step it up in 2020 to provide some more competition.
Pointing out that the Indians and Twins have inflated records in 2019 is not unfair thanks to the bottom-feeders in the Central. Better competition may lower the win totals at the top in 2020, which may not be a bad thing when it comes to playing better in October.