Minnesota Takes A Leap Forward After 19 Years Of Disgrace
Has ‘autumn DNA’ been transplanted? Minnesota is having a different fall this year.
The Minnesota Twins won the second game of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros in the 2023 Major League Postseason held at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on October 9 (Korean time). On this day, Minnesota won 6-2 and tied the series at 1 win and 1 loss.
The main characters who led the victory were starter Pablo Lopez and fourth hitter Carlos Correa. Lopez pitched 7 scoreless innings, and Correa led the batting lineup with 3 hits and 3 RBIs.
Minnesota was the traditional ‘fall underdog.’ Until last year, they had lost 18 consecutive postseason games. Before this season, the last time they won in the postseason was in 2004, 19 years ago. Minnesota had lost all of its postseason games until last year after winning Game 1 of the 2004 Division Series.
It all started with extreme weakness toward a specific team. Minnesota was particularly unable to use its strength when facing the New York Yankees. Minnesota, which struggled against the Yankees even during the regular season, ended up meeting the Yankees in the first round every fall stage. In 2004, after winning Game 1 of the Division Series against the Yankees, they lost three games. That was the beginning.
They lost to the Oakland Athletics in the 2006 Division Series, but faced the Yankees in four consecutive postseasons, including the 2009 Division Series, 2010 Division Series, 2017 Wild Card Game, and 2019 Division Series, and lost all games. During the postseason’s 18 consecutive losses, they suffered 13 losses, including 10 straight losses to the Yankees (3 losses against Oakland, 2 losses against Houston). Minnesota’s overall postseason record against the Yankees was 2 wins and 16 losses.
But this year is different. This year, when the Yankees did not qualify for the postseason, Minnesota defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 in the wild card series. Not only did they escape their 18th straight postseason loss, but they also enjoyed the thrill of winning the postseason series for the first time since 2002. And against Houston, after dropping the first game, they won the second game and brought the series back to square one.
It looks like Correa’s ‘Autumn DNA’, which led to the victory that day, has been transplanted to the team. Correa, from Houston, is a ‘fall veteran’ who has played 79 postseason games in a Houston uniform, including winning the 2017 World Series. He is also a ‘fall powerhouse’ with a career OPS of over 0.900 in the wild card game and division series.
Correa is showing off his ‘powerful’ form this fall. Royce Lewis, who had a home run show in the Wild Card Series, emerged as the main character, but Correa showed good batting ability with .429/.500/.429 and 1 RBI in the two games, and although he lost, he had multiple hits including a double in Game 1 of the Division Series. Reported a hit. And in Game 2, he led the batting lineup with 3 hits, 3 RBIs, and a hard hit. Correa, the starting shortstop, also showed a stellar performance in defense.
Correa’s record in four postseason games this fall was .533/.588/.733 with 4 RBIs. Although Correa is normally a good performer in the fall, he is wielding the highest level of hard hitting of all time.
Of course, Minnesota still needs two more wins to advance to its first league championship series since 2002, and Houston is by no means an easy opponent. However, it is meaningful that in the first postseason with Correa, he is breaking the team’s dishonorable record and looking higher. This year is the first season of the six-year, $200 million guaranteed contract signed with Correa.
Correa hit .230/.312/.399 with 18 home runs and 65 RBIs in 135 regular season games this year, nearing his worst performance since his big league debut. It was completely different from what Minnesota had expected after investing an astronomical amount of money. However, they are demonstrating their true value on the fall stage and instilling ‘fall DNA’ in the team. Attention is being paid to how high Minnesota, which is causing a stir this fall with Correa, can rise.