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The Twins might not suck

Posted by GoGonzoJournal , 10 March 2017 · 3,240 views

twins bullpen breslow usa baseball

Poll: Minnesota Twins TV and Web Games Watched (19 member(s) have cast votes)

How many Minnesota Twins games do you watch on TV or the web per season?

  1. 0-30 (4 votes [22%])

    Percentage of vote: 22%

  2. 31-60 (5 votes [27%])

    Percentage of vote: 27%

  3. 61-90 (4 votes [22%])

    Percentage of vote: 22%

  4. 91-120 (3 votes [16%])

    Percentage of vote: 16%

  5. 121-150 (1 votes [6%])

    Percentage of vote: 6%

  6. 151-162+ (2 votes [11%])

    Percentage of vote: 11%

Vote Guests cannot vote
The Twins might not suck After seeing the Minnesota Twins hold off USA Baseball 3-2 on Wednesday, a dangerous thought for any Minnesota sports fan crept into my head: these guys might not suck.
The Twins are projected to improve more than any other team, but given last season, that’s not saying much. Many of the 14 more games the Twins are expected to win are due to an expected improvement in defensive runs saved. The addition of Jason Castro has a lot to do with it. He came through in an RBI situation in the second inning and coaxed two scoreless innings out of Trevor May after he surrendered three consecutive hits and two runs to open the game.

May, nor any Twins pitcher, saw a Spring Training lineup, either. Craig Breslow managed to strand the tying and go-ahead runs at second and third in the ninth by striking out Christian Yelich, and getting Daniel Murphy and Alex Bregman to groundout. Those are no slouches.
Byron Buxton made another run-saving catch, Max Kepler roped another double, and it was off Andrew Miller! The Twins’ biggest offseason addition had the game’s biggest hit. Granted, it came off Twins pitcher Drew Rucinski, who was one of many players on loan to USA Baseball prior to the World Baseball Classic.
In fact, the only Twin who looked out of place was Danny Santana, who had a throwing error at shortstop (while Nick Gordon played second base?), and misplayed a foul popup that he really should have yielded to the left fielder. He also struck out in his only at-bat, but he is dealing with the death of his mother.
Twins relievers were perfect. Matt Belisle got Jonathan Lucroy to ground into a big double play in the sixth. He then snuck some heat by Giancarlo Stanton of all people. Ryan Pressly struck out Daniel Murphy! I know what you’re thinking: it’s Spring Training. These hitters don’t have their timing. But there was a moment I felt a joy that most fans would find depressing.
The moment I felt these guys might not suck was when Nick Gordon doubled to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning, and the Twins didn’t strand him. I know that’s a low bar, but Twins fans have low bars. Brian Dozier provided great commentary on the situation, praising Miguel Sano’s productive at-bat, moving Gordon to third on a long, fly ball to right. J. B. Shuck walked to continue the productive at-bats, and then ByungHo Park wasted no time scoring Gordon from third, lifting the first pitch he saw (a ball up in the zone) to right field for a sacrifice fly and game-winning RBI. “Good teams find a way to manufacture runs in those situations,” Dozier said.
While I’m not ready to call this team good, I’m confident they’ll be competitive and could even be buyers at the trade deadline. Sano, Buxton, Kepler, and Park are all going to be better this season. The starting rotation will be better, albeit still probably one of the worst in the league, and the bullpen is going to be better than it lets on. Having Brandon Kintzler and Glen Perkins at the back end of your bullpen isn’t terrible, and Breslow and Belisle impressed on Wednesday. So instead of shopping Dozier at the deadline, the Twins could be in a position to add a pitcher…or maybe they’ll do both.

  • Oldgoat_MN likes this

For various reasons, the 3 guys in the OF every day, players actually playing the right position (Sano), the defense will be better this season despite questions about the left side of the infield. I am absolutely not sold on Kintzler as the closer and wonder how long he will keep the job, but I feel the bullpen will be much better this season, with some solid to excellent arms getting ready at Rochester.

It still comes down to the starting Pitching though. I hate to use this as a source of optomism, but really, they could be bad and STILL be better than last season. IF...and it's still a mighty big IF...Hughes can regain his 92mph velocity and feel better about his change going forward, he is a huge boost. Santana is solid and sometimes excellent. Personally, I believe Gibson is going to rebound and surprise a bit. I like May and liked what I saw of him the other night. Now, if we can just get Berrios out there every 5th day.....
    • GoGonzoJournal likes this
Mar 11 2017 05:59 AM
Alright, I will drink the Kool - aid wearing my Twins colored glasses while basking in the spring training sunshine. My big concern is the bullpen and the lack of viable options. I see Kintzler having a Jepsen-like regression this season.
    • GoGonzoJournal likes this

We have to see who is patched into the bullpen.


Lineup construction is a key. Less strikeouts. Putting the ball in play. Runners moving.


Strong starts from the big 4. Not just five innings anymore, especially with the bullpen, which needs to stay at 7 and not climb to 8.



    • GoGonzoJournal likes this
Mar 13 2017 06:17 AM

Meeting the projection for this team is probably a big challenge.  I guess we would have to take it but I am not sure that makes us competitive, even in a weak Central Division.  Two years ago we over-achieved. Last year we under-achieved.  I guess it would be nice to know if we are on the right path with the new management more than anything else. That won't be clear until the middle (or end) of next season.  

    • GoGonzoJournal likes this
Mar 13 2017 08:24 PM

I think this team could stay in the race up until the Trade Deadline. Only moves I expect would be for pitching, though.

I think we are all rather counting on ESan to have a 'Santana-average' year. If he has a bad year things start to look even more bleak.

We really need Gibson or Santiago to step up. I think we will see a lot of youth this year in and out of the starting rotation. Hopefully someone (or two, or more) takes the opportunity and compels the management to take them seriously.

Because we seriously need starting pitching.

    • GoGonzoJournal likes this