The Gardy 1000
Well, that was a huge embarrassing failure. Wait, I said I'd be positive. Um. The Twins made a valiant effort to get Ron Gardenhire his 1000th career win. They needed to go 3-4 this week and they only missed it by 2 games. Two isn't bad. That's only about 1% of a season. It's such a small sample.
Here's some real positivity. Josmil Pinto had a wonderful September debut. In fact, only Chris Parmelee has had a better September debut than Pinto, when looking at OPS and only including players with 50 plate appearances in September. We can ignore the Parmelee part, but knowing that Pinto looks good makes me feel good about next season. Having Pinto gives the Twins more options at catcher. If the Twins can enjoy another 3-5 years of above-average offensive production from their catcher, the rebuild will be somewhat easier.
A recent Terry Ryan interview shocked and awed everyone when he admitted that he was interested in bringing Mike Pelfrey back for the 2014 season. Pelfrey hasn't been a highlight of the 2013 season. He's been one of the more frustrating players for me to watch. He dug himself a big hole in April and May; did he dig out of it?
Well, kind of. In April and May he was a disaster. In June, he was pretty good. He didn't walk anyone, but he was a bit unlucky so his ERA wasn't great. In July, he was worse, but had some strand rate luck and looked better than he actually was. He was pretty bad in August, but finally got some good BABIP luck. In September, he's been pretty poor again, but has a crazy high BABIP and has been generally unpleasant to watch. Basically, he's been really inconsistent. The only reason to sign a guy like Pelfrey for another year would be if you could rely on him for consistently decent innings. The Twins can't rely on him for that. Cut him loose. Oh, and dig up, stupid.
Anthony Swarzak threw 96 innings this season without starting a single game. This has only happened 461 times since 1901. Juan Berenguer accomplished this feat in 1989 and 1990 and no one had done it in a Twins' uniform since then. No one in baseball had done this since 2006, when Scott Proctor threw 102.1 innings without starting. Swarzak is a rare bird, especially in this current era.
Random Paint Image
The Playoffs are starting this week and that means National Coverage. No more Dick and Bert, no more Coom-dog, no more Anthony LaPanda. Here's a dramatization of what I think could happen during the TBS studio show, if things really fall apart.
Look, if you don't get that reference, then you clearly didn't watch as much Comedy Central as I did as a kid and you don't think Dennis Eckersley looks like a certain watermelon-smashing comedian like I do. And really, that's your problem.
Former Twin Update - Francisco Liriano
Francisco Liriano finished the 2013 season with 16 wins and an ERA just slightly above 3. He has been one of the major reasons why the Pirates season is still in progress. In fact, he'll start the Wild Card game on Tuesday against the Reds and their lefty-heavy lineup. Lefties have hit .131/.175/.146 against Liriano in 138 plate appearances this season. Before the season, who would have ever thought that Francisco Liriano would be starting a playoff game in 2013?
Answer to a Hypothetical Facebook Question
Nope, not today. It's impossible to find anything positive on the Twins Facebook page. It's my problem really. I only go there for this bit, so it only affects me once a week at most. I can handle complaints. I can handle negativity. I can't handle hostility. There isn't a single Twins fan who has any right to be hostile. No one should be calling Joe Mauer a wimp. No one should be calling for Gardy and Anderson to be hit with bricks. Since 99% of the Facebook comments are hostile, I'm not doing it today.
Instead, I asked my 8-year-old cousin to give his thoughts on the Twins' 2013 season:
"It was really fun. I actually got to go to two games! They won the second game!"
Monday Madness is ending for the year, but I've got loads of off-season stuff planned. I've got recaps, pumas, predictions, previews, video games, candy, treats, ice cream, lobster and much, much more. This week, I've got two guest columnists doing season recaps and I have a mailbag coming on Friday. I'm going to try to have some fun this off-season, if you want to join me.
The Twins 2013 season was unpleasant. The franchise is in a better place than it was in 2012, but there is still a lot of work to be done. I'll do as much work as the Twins allow me, but a more likely scenario would involve the Twins' current decision makers working to improve the team. I have confidence. I think that strides were made this year that weren't seen on the field. If the organization continues down a similar path, I believe the Twins will be a good team in the near future. I've always held that 2014 will be the first year in the on-field turnaround and I stand by that. I really feel that we just suffered through the last 90-loss season for awhile. If I'm wrong, you can all hurl tomatoes at me when I run on the field during a 2015 game.
Have a nice off-season, everyone!