Game Thread: Indians@Twins 9/29 Game 162 Final Game 2013
Indians: SP Ubaldo Jimenez
Twins: SP Scott Diamond
Final Things to Think About:
1. Think about 2013... It's been another long year for our Twins. I'm not going to break out a bunch of stats to prove or disprove my feelings but I did watch a lot of Twins baseball this year. I tend to agree with Terry Ryan when he says that the pitchers pitched better than the metrics suggest. No we didn't have a shut down rotation but the rotation did keep us in games enough that we could have had a later draft position in 2014. When I look back at 2013... I look at the offense primarily and the failure of the offense to compete. I saw the lack of the little things that the Twins used to be good at. I saw the lack of key hits at key moments that put W's on the board. I saw way too many strikeouts and it's hard to get anything moving when you are whiffing at an alarming rate and most of all... I saw a disappointing lack of power from a lineup that should have produced power. When Brian Dozier is your home run leader... That's great for Brian Dozier but terrible for a team that has Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau, Trevor Plouffe, Chris Parmelee, Ryan Doumit, Oswaldo Arcia and Chris Colabello expected to hit homers. Granted not all 7 of those had enough at bats to reach 20 homers but all of them have 20 homer potential and in the case of Willingham, Morneau and Plouffe... dare I say... 30 Homer potential. There is no doubt that the pitching needs to improve and the Twins won't get better until the pitching improves... It's that simple... but when I look back at 2013... It was the hitting that stood out as the primary problem among multiple problems.
2. Think about 2014... I suspect that most of us don't feel optimistic about 2014... In case you need a shot of optimism... Here's my best shot of it. Players get better. Take Brian Dozier for example... We were not very happy with him as a SS in 2012... We are very happy with him as a 2B in 2013. Look at players like Pedro Alverez in Pittsburgh... He was top prospect who struggled mightily before figuring it out and becoming the power hitter that everyone thought he would be. Just because 2013 went a certain way doesn't mean it will be the same in 2014. Vance Worley might be better... Aaron Hicks might be better... Oswaldo Arcia can continue to grow and be better. Chris Parmelee might do something decent for us all to enjoy. Josmil Pinto might become a top flight hitting catcher. Joe Mauer may continue to be Joe... Josh Willingham may return to 30 homers. Sano may hit the ground running and be Longoria, Puig, or Braunesque in his 2014 debut. Maybe Plouffe will crawl out of my doghouse. The bottom line is 2013 has nothing to do with 2014. It will be a fresh start and all it will take is a nice stretch of victories and the feeling that they can actually win and have fun doing so. If the team feels like it can win... It will and if they win... it will be like everybody is a different ball player.
3. Think about the Youngsters... Buxton, Sano, Gibson, Meyer, May, Arcia, Pinto, Hicks. We will have some ups and downs with these guys but these guys will most likely be leading this team in the future and sometime to come. The Future is bright... The only problem is that the future isn't here yet.
4. Think about 1,000 Wins... DANG IT... It isn't going to happen... The Twins will win today... It's a no doubter... Gardenhire was destined to finish at 999. Plus... The Playoff Gods love complication... The Indians will lose today just to complicate the Wild Card. A victory for the Twins today is already set in stone. As for Gardenhire... I respect him and I always have and I do not blame him for our current situation but... I do feel it's time for a change. I want a yelling screaming high energy manager. I want a guy who will get in a veteran or rookies grill and let them know that they are going through the motions when they go through the motions. I want a guy who is getting his first job in the majors and therefore a guy who wants to win to secure his future. I don't want a guy who has been through it all before... I want a guy who will over react and present to the team like failure in little details is the end of mankind.
5. Think about the Game Threads... This is the final game thread of 2013... I was hoping to participate in this last one but I forgot that my Fantasy Hockey Draft is today and I'm heading out of town for the draft party and will have to prepare for the draft. I have about 3 hours to go over depth charts and figure out what a Gabriel Landeskog is.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Game Thread over the past year. The game thread was a wonderful place to congregate because of everyone's participation and it will get better next year with even more participation as others join in. It was never an exclusive club and participation is encouraged... I honestly believe that no one is the slightest bit judgmental of failed attempts at humor or straightforward points on the game thread. There is no pressure to be funny so just jump in... You can be the straight man because funny guys like Chief and Ash will need straight material to work with.
In my opinion... The Game Thread was like a bunch of us sitting in the left field bleachers talking about life and occasionally the game itself. The Game thread was special because we didn't argue with each other like some of the other TD game threads... We all turned whatever direction it was heading. If someone said that Brian Dozier was great... we went along with that thought... If someone said that Brian Dozier was horrible... we went along with that thought. If someone didn't like potatoes... We could think of funny things or find funny photos of potatoes in strange places to support the horribleness of potatoes. Nobody called anyone else an idiot and it made the place comfortable. We just travelled down the road and we had no idea where the road was leading but we usually enjoyed the ride.
I will be spending the winter... Waiting for the first game thread of 2014.
Thanks to all.