Four-game sweeps in baseball are relatively rare these days, perhaps because most series are just three games. Seldom does a road team accomplish such a feat, and last weekend was the first time Minnesota had swept four games against Texas.
So why don't I feel good about it? Because it was a weekend of really bad baseball.
The four games included a combined 10 errors and 22 walks, but that barely scratches the surface of what we saw. The Rangers' base-running blunders were an embarrassment to the game. Players on both sides decided it was too hot to run out ground balls. Infielders dropped popups. Outfielders misplayed fly balls into extra-base hits. Double plays weren't turned.
And the games dragged on, and on, and on. None went to extra innings, but the four games averaged three hours, 27 minutes.
So, while the Twins did get a much-needed sweep, last weekend in Arlington was like watching reruns of "Baywatch" -- you kind of enjoy it, but you don't feel good about it, and you know there were better things you could have done with your time.
But sadly, this is the reality of baseball today.
Baseball writer Bob Nightengale recently penned a column in which he quotes multiple baseball legends about the "unwatchable" state of the game. Greats like Goose Gossage, Pete Rose and Lou Piniella agree that the obsession with home runs, strikeouts and analytics is ruining America's national pastime.
"A lot of the strategy of the game, the beauty of the game, it's all gone," Gossage said.
He's right. The hit-and-run play is a rarity. Few players can bunt, and stolen bases are so rare that I honestly can't remember seeing a single pitch-out all season. The suicide squeeze that the Sox executed against the Twins on Monday shocked everyone, because it basically never happens anymore.
All that stuff has gone away in the quest for home runs and a willingness to accept strikeouts.
Normally, Twins fans would feel somewhat left out of such controversy, because Minnesota has been behind the curve as baseball turned into a season-long home-run derby. But not anymore. The Twins are this year's poster boys for the long ball.
Hey, it's been fun. I've loved watching Nelson Cruz yank hanging curveballs over the left field wall and drive outside fastballs over the center field fence. Max Kepler has been phenomenal, and most of his homers are simply line drives that leave the yard. Mitch Garver has shortened his swing and found spectacular power, and even Miguel Sano appears to have realized that he doesn't need to turn on the ball to hit it out of any park and to any field.
But what I've found most interesting is how Twins' announcers and writers have become obsessed with Luis Arraez.
People can't get over the fact that he swings only at strikes. That he appears to survey the field and make a deliberate attempt to "hit 'em where they ain't." That when he takes pitches, he watches the ball all the way into the catcher's glove. That he is animated and confident. That he rarely strikes out. That he comes through in "high-leverage" situations, rather than wilting. That he puts the ball in play and forces the other team into mistakes.
In short, people seem totally astonished by the fact that they're watching a rookie who actually was ready for the big leagues and has no obvious holes in his game.
By way of comparison, how long have we listened to Twins broadcasters wish that Eddie Rosario would lay off pitches that are over his head or two feet outside? Yes, he occasionally gets a hit -- even a homer -- on such pitches, but think about how great he could be if he forced pitchers to throw strikes?
Then there's Jorge Polanco, who got off to a great start but now has decided that he's a power hitter. He's swinging so hard that he often falls to one knee and loses his helmet when he misses.
Polanco is still hitting .295, but his average has been steadily sinking for the past two months. While he's likely to feast on the White Sox and Tigers in the next two weeks, an all-or-nothing approach won't work for him against the Astros or A's in a playoff series.
It's crazy to think that if the Twins make the playoffs, the guy opposing managers will fear most with a runner on second in a tie game might not be a 250-pound veteran slugger, but rather a 177-pound rookie who seems to be a hybrid of Tony Gwynn and Rod Carew.
To me, that's proof that while baseball may have changed for the worse by giving fans the home runs they crave, there's still room for old-school ball players. In fact, given the amount of acclaim Arraez is getting, I'd say that a lot of fans are longing for the good old days.