There’s no other way to put it: If Byron Buxton hadn’t been in the Twins’ lineup on Sunday against the White Sox, they would not have won that game.
The center fielder’s two homers and five RBIs both erased late deficits en route to the win. His two-run, opposite-field blast in the seventh inning off Aaron Bummer tied the game, 3-3, before his 469-foot shot off Liam Hendriks to Target Field’s third deck turned a one-run hole into a two-run victory.
That’s one game, though. How about the big picture?
Get this: When Buxton has been on the field for the Twins since the start of the 2019 season, Minnesota owns a 125-73 record, which roughly translates to a 102-win pace over a 162-game campaign.
When he hasn’t been on the field in that time? The Twins are 94-109, good for a 75-win pace.
It’s not quite that simple, of course, since there are so many other factors that go into the outcome of any single game. But it’s undeniable that when the superstar center fielder is on the field, things just feel different with this lineup and this clubhouse, something they all acknowledge.
“There are some incredible players in the game that mean an immense amount to their teams, and they’re not quite the same group without that particular player,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “When Buck’s on the field, you truly believe anything is possible at any time. And you have to amend things and find different ways to win games when he’s not.”