Twins starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi sounded off after Saturday's Twins game about fans starting to panic over the fact the Twins have lost a double-digit lead to the Indians in the AL Central race.
Cleveland, playing red-hot baseball since June, flew into Minnesota trailing the Twins by two games Thursday, but left Sunday with things all tied atop the division after winning three of four.
“For the city in general that’s in panic mode right now: Everything is going to be fine,” Odorizzi said. “That’s how we take it in here. There’s a lot of talk of, the lead is what it is, we lost it. We also started the year off when we were even with Cleveland and we got to a point where we were up. It’s the same as Opening Day all over again. We got there one time, might as well continue to do it again."
Odorizzi noted that he's only been in Minnesota for two years, but he's aware of the heartbreak and misfortune fans have endured over the years.
“I’m pretty new to Minnesota, but I know there’s been some tough years in multiple sports, and it just kind of carries over to this,” Odorizzi said. “It’s not in our control. We’re not fans. We’ve got to go out and do our jobs, but it’s easy to find panic. There’s no panic in here.”
The right-hander came off the mound Saturday to a standing ovation after giving up zero runs in 5.2 innings of work, helping the Twins win their only game of the four-game series against their division rival.
Odorizzi thought the standing ovation was, in a way, an opportunity for fans to release some joy after a frustrating four-game losing streak.
“They [the fans] were trying to let out some of the frustrations of what we’ve been going through,” he said. “I was appreciative of it. But it still was the sixth inning. If it was the seventh, I maybe would have given a little more enthusiasm to it. But it was appreciated.
"Hopefully that continues for the next month-and-a-half. I think we all enjoy the cheering and to be honest, we could use more of it in certain situations. To each their own. If we do things well and continue to play well, that should continue to happen. It's going to be ok. Just continue to hang in there and everything is going to be fine."
Optimistic words from the All-Star pitcher, but when factoring in that the Twins' front office didn't add a big name at the trade deadline and now are tied for the division lead, it's understandable why fans are anxious.
The good news is the Twins play the majority of their remaining games against the Royals, Tigers and White Sox, including their last 10 games of the season against Kansas City and Detroit.
So hopefully Odorizzi is right, but if the Twins end up playing in a wild-card game after such a phenomenal start to the season, fans have every right to be angry and pessimistic.