Even without Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Trea Turner, beating the Dodgers is still a meaningful measuring stick for MLB's upstart teams.
Just ask Byron Buxton and the Twins, who haven't been in their current position for quite a while.
After getting outlasted and out-umpired by the Dodgers in Game 1 of their Dodger Stadium set this week, the Twins struck back and beat Clayton Kershaw with Bailey Ober on the mound in Game 2. A Kyle Farmer homer in the ninth sealed it. That's, after all, what good teams do. They beat you on off nights and in strange circumstances with surprising catalysts.
All this winning was a lot to process for Buxton, who followed up his shock at taking the season series from the Yankees in April with another "mind blown" press conference after learning that Tuesday night was the Twins' first win at Dodger Stadium since 2005.
Beating the Dodgers still matters, blows Twins star Byron Buxton's mind
Buxton revealed a little truth about his previous Twins teams in the process, and confirmed that professional baseball players can occasionally fall into the trap and behave like fans.
How many times have you tried to couch your own expectations for the Dodgers by mentally taking a step back and saying, "Well, we're facing deGrom tonight, we have no chance. Maybe tomorrow"? According to Buxton, his old Twins teams would do the same, hurting themselves by pre-writing off showdowns with baseball's biggest stars (and teams).
Well, not anymore. Farmer, Buxton, Ober and the Twins showed up on Tuesday in a game where they could've easily folded, especially after Phil Cuzzi's umpiring disasterclass in the opener. Certainly, the Dodgers have seen other teams get intimidated and fold under the bright lights in Chavez Ravine.
Not these guys, who are well aware they can hit and have dual Cy Young candidates in Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan fronting the rotation. This isn't the same Twins team that Kershaw nearly perfect game'd last spring, and there may be a postseason Twins-Dodgers showdown developing somewhere down the line if Minnesota can harness their current confidence levels.