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  • The Final Fifteen; What to Watch For

    It's been a long season for the Twins and their fans. Many years at this time, I would say, "Boy, April doesn't seem like that long ago!" This year, it has been a very, very long season and April does seem like forever ago. However, starting tonight, the Twins will have just 15 more games to play this season, and although it's been a frustrating season, again, there are still plenty of reasons for fans to "play out the string." The best reason is "Because it's Baseball." Here are some more:
    Just Be Better Than Last Year
    The Twins enter this series with a record of 60-87. Maybe they can reel off a 15-game winning streak and end up 75-87. A nice goal might be to go 8-7 in the last 15 games and finish 68-94. To avoid losing 99 games again, the Twins need to win four more games. With the hitters healthy, that seems to be a fair goal.

    Milestone Chasing
    There may not be any huge milestone career numbers that Twins players are chasing, but the M&M Boys can continue their rise up the Twins leader boards.

    • Joe Mauer needs 1 RBI to tie Michael Cuddyer for 10th on the Twins all-time list with 580. Justin Morneau needs 12 RBI to catch up to Bob Allison for 5th on the Twins RBI list with 796.
    • Justin Morneau needs 2 doubles to tie Torii Hunter for 6th on the Twins career list with 259. If Joe Mauer can notch 6 more doubles, he would tie Gary Gaetti at 252 for 8th all-time.
    • Six more walks and Joe Mauer would tie Roy Smalley with 549 walks. Smalley is currently sixth on the all-time Twins list.
    • With one more sacrifice fly, Justin Morneau ties Kirby Puckett for 4th place with 58. If he hits two sacrifice flies, he ties Gary Gaetti for 3rd place with 59.

    Can Mauer Lead the League?
    Are we talking about Batting Average? If so, here are the current leaders:
    Miguel Cabrera .330
    Mike Trout .329
    Derek Jeter .323
    Joe Mauer .321

    Let's say that it will take a .330 batting average for Mauer to win the batting title. Let's also say that over the final 15 Twins games, Mauer will get 51 at bats to bring his season total to 540. He would need to go 21-51 (.412) to hit .330. Of course, any of those above him are capable of a similar run and are capable of hitting over .330. At any rate, Mauer still could win an unprecedented fourth batting title, but it will take some serious work!

    If we are talking about On-Base Percentage, which in most ways is more important than Batting Average, then Mauer is certainly the favorite. Here is how the OBP leader board looks heading into Tuesday:
    Joe Mauer .415
    Prince Fielder .404
    Mike Trout .396
    Miguel Cabrera .395
    David Murphy .391

    No matter how you look at it, Joe Mauer returned to form in 2012.

    Three More Opportunities
    With fifteen games left, my Minnesota Math tells me that the current five in the Twins starting rotation will each get three more starts. That is, they will each get three more opportunities to show the Twins manager, pitching coach, GM, other teams, and fans what they are capable of.

    Scott Diamond seems all but guaranteed a rotation spot in 2013, but I'm sure he'd like to finish strong. He is currently sitting at 188.1 combined innings on the season (153.2 with the Twins, 34.2 with Rochester). Samuel Deduno seemed to have nearly locked in a 2013 starting gig with the Twins until he struggled with his control again in his most recent start. PJ Walters needs to try to show that his first three Twins starts were the real him and the terrible starting since then is the anomaly. Esmerling Vasquez needs to let the brass know if he can throw enough strikes to be a starter or a reliever. Liam Hendriks needs to relax and pitch like we all know that he can. Three starts is obviously a small sample size no matter how you look at it, but coupled with what they've done to this point, it's the beginning of their case.

    As you all know, I love seeing players come up through the minor league ranks and succeed. Chris Herrmann got a late call up here in September. He made his big league debut on Sunday when he grounded out to second base in a pinch hitting effort. I'm sure he'll make a couple of starts, and it will be great to see him get his first major league hit.

    However, if there is one thing that I want to see more than anything in these final 15 games, it is a Liam Hendriks win. It would be great for him to get Number One out of the way before the offseason so that he doesn't have to carry that with him.

    Yes, it has been a very long, very frustrating season in many ways, but hey, it's still baseball. It's still the best game that there is.

    Last night, the Twins didn't play. I decided to watch the first episode of NBC's Revolution. That's an hour of my life that I can't get back, and if that's what we have to look forward to watching on TV until the Twins come back next spring, it is going to be a very, very long winter!! So, enjoy the final couple of weeks for what they are.
    This article was originally published in blog: The Final Fifteen; What to Watch For started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. Grady Kruse's Avatar
      Grady Kruse -
      I'm only watching to see if Mauer can win the batting title. This starting staff has nothing to prove in my opinion. We need at least two new starters next year or we'll be cellar dwellers again.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Other than Hermann, not one thing in that list interests me, or most casual fans. So little hope for the future in the callups. I will be very bummed out if more than two of these awful starting pitchers are back next year. If they are, there is no reason to keep any veteran hitter on this roster.
    1. Thegrin's Avatar
      Thegrin -
      I want to see if Plouffe gets back his stroke and plays his position.
      I want to see if Perkins can close 3 games in a row with style.
      I want to see Span and Revere make more impossible catches.
      I want to see Parmelee kill it.
      I want to see the Twins beat the Yankees.
      I want to see the Twins win the series against the Tigers.
      I want to see the Twins sweep the White Sox in their final series.
    1. Forever34's Avatar
      Forever34 -
      I just want to see anything that can give me hope for 2013.

      Also, I didn't see Revolution but was wanting to. Looked like one of the few new shows with promise.
    1. wavedog's Avatar
      wavedog -
      I would like to see us play hard to the end. I understand losing so many games is hard but let's keep up the effort. Play the young players - let Herrman, Parmelee, Plouffe, Florimon, Revere get as many at bats as possible.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      I would like to see Hendriks get his first win.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thegrin View Post
      I want to see the Twins sweep the White Sox in their final series.
      Sorry to say that the Twins just completed their final series against the White Sox and it was a sweep for the Pale Hose.
    1. Lesser Dali's Avatar
      Lesser Dali -
      I want to see the Twins play with some dignity and pride. I will be one of the group that continues to watch their games till the end of the season. The White Sox series, for the Twins, was lacking of those two elements.

      I wouldn't mind a Mauer Batting Title or Willingham hitting 40 home runs, but a lot of extremely extraordinary things will have to happen in the next 15 games for that to happen. I'm not betting the farm on it.
    1. nokomismod's Avatar
      nokomismod -
      Some of mine have already been mentioned but:
      Parmalee and Plouffe finish strong so we feel confident that we can count on them next year.
      Span and Morneau finish strong so we can possibly trade them for pitching.
      Try not to get depressed about the current starters. I think we have seen enough of the current crop to know that the only one we may be able to depend on next year is Diamond.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      I just want to see Hendricks get the win under his belt--so that discussion can be over.

      I watched Mob Doctor--that had to be worse than Revolution.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      I didn't think Revolution was that bad. Then again, I'm a sci-fi geek. I'll watch more of it to see where it goes.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Pohlads needs more money to pad his pockets, it's going to be a cold winter.
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