It seems like years ago when the Twins left Spring Training with high hopes of winning the AL Central Division. It all began way back on April 1 with a 13-3 loss to Torronto. After the game, I tweeted, “I wish that the Twins 13-3 loss to the Blue Jays was an April Fool’s Day joke.” This whole season I now wish had been an April Fool’s joke, but the stories are real so no joke here.
Not all of the season was doom and gloom. During the first 54 games, the highlight was Fransisco Liriano’s no hitter against the Chicago White Sox. Then in June, the Twins went on a 15-2 run which had the fans in Minnesota believing that the Twins were still the little engine that could. During this stretch, we started getting some players back that had suffered injuries in April and May. Players like Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka returned from injuries. But, Justin Morneau and Denard Span replaced them on the Disabled List. Prior to this stretch of games, Jason Kubel and Jim Thome went on the Disabled List with Thome’s being the second stint on the DL this season. But the Twins kept on winning games. They did suffered a three game sweep to the Milwaukee Brewers at the end of June and were blown out by the Los Angeles Dodgers in game one of that three game series at home, but the Twins kept winning and would finish June with a 17-9 record.
July was also good for the Twins as they had a 16-13 record and Thome, Kubel and Delmon Young returned from the DL. Joe Nathan saved his 255th game, breaking the club record of 254 saves which was held by Rick Aguilera. But the little engine that could didn’t quite make it.
August saw the Twins winning only 7 games which basically dashed all hope that we could make the playoffs. However, there was a high note for the club as Thome would hit his 600th home run against the Detroit Tigers. A week and a half later, after a disappointing 4 game series sweep by the Baltomore Orioles that saw the Twins scoring only 4 runs, Thome was traded to the Cleveland Indians. Young had already departed via trade to the Tigers earlier that month.
August also saw the return of Justin Morneau after he’d had neck sergery in June. Span did return, but went back on the DL a couple of weeks later because he was still suffering concussion symptoms.
In September, the Twins would only win 6 games. This month also saw the Twins losing 11 games in a row. And just when we thought the injury bug might be over, Mauer and Morneau were shut down for the season. Kubel had issues with his sore left foot that he’d suffered earlier, and didn’t play much. Because of this, Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee were called up from AA New Britain and played a significant portion of the month.
The highlight of September I’d say would have to be Carl Pavano pitching a shutout in the final game of the season. Sure, I could go with Rene Tosoni’s game winning hit that won the game that ended the 11 game losing streak, but this game is of more significance for 2 reasons. The more important is it was Jon Gordon’s last game behind the mike. He will retire with a win in his last game as the voice of the Minnesota Twins. The second, less important reason is the fact that we avoided 100 losses and it was also the first time since the end of July the Twins had a winning streak of 2 games or more. And as a side note, Ben Revere broke the stoken base record held by a Twins rookie when he swiped his 32 base in a September 19 game against the new york Yankees and would finish the season with 34.
For MVP this season, I’d have to pick Michael Cuddyer who led the team with 20 home runs and drove in 70 runs and scored 70 while leading the team in hitting at .284. And one other reason for this pick is he was willing to play where ever the team needed him. He even pitched in a 20-6 blow out loss against texas in july.
For the Cy Young Award for the Twins, I’d pick 2 players. The first one is Carl Pavano who had a 9-13 record with a 4.30 ERA. The reason I pick him is he tried his best especially when he was surrounded by several minor league prospects later in the season and he got the win in the final game of the season. The second Cy Young Award winner is Nathan. He saved 14 games with a 4.84 ERA. The reason why he deserves it is because of the fact when he wasn’t pitching well at the start of the season, he told manager Ron Gardenhire that he couldn’t do it and that he needed a different role for the benefit of the team. He eventually returned to the closer role in early July after Matt Capps struggled in a couple of outings.
Well folks, it wasn’t the season we wanted as Twins fans, but I’m looking forward to next season. Next season will be a fresh start and who knows, we just might be back in the playoffs. This offseason will be full of questions such as Will Cuddyer, Kubel and Nathan be back? Also, what will the Front office Do to Strenthen the bullpen and middle infield. For now, it’s time to move on to the postseason and the offseason.