The Twins got a nice 4-3 win last night at Target Field in the first game of the final home stand of the season. Brian Dozier knocked his 18th home run of the season to send the game to extra innings. In the 11th inning, Josmil Pinto drove in the game-winning run for the Twins.
As the season is winding down, it seems there are fewer people wanting to talk about the Twins, and understandably so. But here are several topics that are interesting, if nothing else:
Last night's Twins win marked the 998th win in the Twins managerial career of Ron Gardenhire. Obviously a big talker over the next week will be whether or not the Twins will (or should) retain him as their manager for 2014 and beyond. No matter what you think of his style or his overall success, 998 wins is noteworthy. Consider, in the long history of Major League Baseball, only 59 managers have reached the 1,000 Win plateau.
The most recent manager to attain the milestone was former Twins player Charlie Manuel who achieved it with the Phillies. Of course, once he reached 1,000 wins, the Phillies fired him and have now replaced him with Ryne Sandberg.
Josmil Pinto had the big hit last night, and he has come up with many big hits over the course of his short time with the Twins. It caused me to got back a couple of seasons to look at another September call up who made a great first impression.
In 2011, Chris Parmelee came up to the Twins following a solid second season in New Britain. He was 23 years old and played in 21 games. In 88 plate appearances, he hit .355/.443/.592 (1.035) with six doubles and four home runs.
Josmil Pinto came up just a short stint in Rochester and debuted on September 1st. He was 24 years old and has played in 17 games so far. In 68 plate appearances, he is hitting .359/.397/.578 (.975) with five doubles and three home runs.
That comparison is not meant as a knock to either player. Chris Parmelee will turn 26 next spring training, so there is no reason to give up on him as a big league hitter. And, this isn't to say that Pinto won't be a fixture on the Twins roster and in the lineup for years to come.
Brian Dozier's still hitting just .248 on the season, but his .739 OPS is finally giving him a 102 OPS+, which is to say that it is better than league average. Considering that after a May 27th game, he was hitting just .197, he's put together a very solid season. Since that game (now 104 games, so not completely in the realm of small sample any longer), he has hit .266/.339/.479 (.817) with 30 doubles, two triples and 17 (of his 18) home runs.
We know about his defense at second base. His 1.5 DWAR trails only Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler among MLB second basemen. His 705 total chances is tops among all second basemen. His overall WAR (according to ESPN) of 3.8 ranks seventh among second basemen, trailing Robinson Cano (7.4), Matt Carpenter (6.6), Dustin Pedroia (6.3), Jason Kipnis (5.3), Ben Zobrist (4.7), and Ian Kinsler (4.6). His 18 home runs are behind only Cano (27), Dan Uggla (22), and Jedd Gyorko (20).
Long-time Twins infielder/outfielder/pitcher(?) Michael Cuddyer is about to win the National League batting title. Entering play today, Cuddyer is batting a robust .334. He is currently leading the Braves' Chris Johnson (.327) and the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter (.324).
Couldn't happen to a better, most standout guy. If not for the frustrations of the 2011 season, I believe he would have loved to have stayed in Minnesota for his whole career. He represents all that a Minnesota Twins player should be. He was a starter for the National League in the All-Star game this year (his second All- Star game), and put on an impressive display in the Home Run Derby.
Since joining the Pirates, Justin Morneau is hitting .254/.354/.299 (.653) with three doubles.
Jamey Carroll has had three hits in 39 at bats for the Royals since they acquired him at the end of July. He is sitting on 999 career hits.
Six games to go... The Twins will play three more against Detroit followed by three games against Cleveland. And then we will go almost four and a half months before spring training!