Well, the end was certainly shocking. The Twins were shut out in the first two games against the Rays and were in the process of being shut out on Sunday, when they decided to score a bunch of runs in the 7th and 8th innings. The dagger was Josmil Pinto's three-run bomb with two outs in the 8th, which effectively decided the game. It's fitting that Pinto would provide the most exciting play of the series, as he's been one of the few players actually worth watching this September. The win was insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but did bring Ron Gardenhire within 4 wins of 1000. More on that...
Ron Gardenhire's 1000 wins
Back in October 2010, the Twins had just finished a 94-win season and celebrated a sixth division title during the past decade. Ron Gardenhire had lead the team to all six titles, in his nine years as manager. He had never won fewer than 79 games, and had averaged just over 89 wins per season. His 803 career wins put him in striking distance of that beautiful round number of 1000. If you had told me that Gardenhire would be the manager for the next three seasons, I would have guessed that he'd have obliterated the 1000 mark and had probably gotten within shootin' range of 1100 - the next beautiful round number.
Instead, Gardenhire needs to go 4-10 in the Twins' last 14 games to reach the 1000-win milestone. The Twins were 6-8 in their past 14 games, so it seems likely that they can pull off this feat.
While it seems likely he will get to the milestone, how did we even get to the point where that is in question? In 2010, 1000 wins seemed like a lock, so long as Gardenhire wanted to keep managing the Twins. Unfortunately, the team has fallen so dramatically that Gardenhire might not average the 66 wins per season that he would have needed back in 2010 to reach that round 1000 figure in 2013. Of course, back in 2010, there didn't seem to be a three-year endpoint. However, I'm quite certain that we've reached the point where these 14 games are his last 14 chances to get to 1000 wins.
The Twins have three games in Chicago this week. Those are all winnable games. Their final eleven games after the Chicago series include seven against division leaders (four at Oakland and three at home against Detroit). Their final four games are at home against Cleveland, a team contending for one of the AL Wild Card slots. Those non-Chicago teams all have better talent and more reasons to play hard. The Twins might be fighting simply to reward their long-term manager with a round amount of wins during what appears to be his swansong season.
If the Twins can manage a 4-10 record, Gardenhire will win his 1000 games, but it won't save his job. I don't blame the last three seasons on Gardenhire. He won as many games as anyone would have won with this roster. However, it seems his time has come. The Twins will change managers and move on from Gardenhire. When they get better in the next couple seasons (and they will), it won't be because they changed their manager.
Ron Gardenhire proved that he can lead a talented team to a lot of wins. He also proved that he can't take an untalented roster and make magic. He has his strengths and he has his weaknesses, but overall, he is a good manager. Above all else, I know that I enjoyed the Gardenhire era. I'm not sure I can ask for much more as a fan.
Ahhhhhhhh so much depression, time for fun and madness!
Former Twin - Jamey Carroll
I assumed that when the Royals bought Jamey Carroll from the Twins, he would propel them to a Championship. He still could, but it doesn't look good. He's posted a .097/.167/.161 triple slash in 37 PA. Of course, his -9 OPS+ would still be good for third on the Twins. Kidding! But for real, his career is probably over. He needs one more hit to get to 1000. Round!
Fun with the number 1000!
In honor of Gardenhire and Carroll aiming for their 1000 of something, here are some fun 1000 facts that I found. I was going to write 1000 fun facts, but I was busy photoshopping Twins player heads onto animal bodies (more on that below).
- Dee Fondy and Birdie Tebbetts each had exactly 1000 career hits!
- Darryl Strawberry ended his career with exactly 1000 career RBI. He's the only guy with that quantity!!
- Jorge Posada and Bucky Harris are the only players with exactly 1000 singles!!!
- No one has exactly 1000 career runs. No one!!!!
- On the pitching side, Tom Browning and Ralph Terry have exactly 1000 strikeouts!!!!!
- And finally, former Twin Jim Hoey ended his career with a 1000 ERA!!!!!!
One of those statements is a lie.
Baseball Card from the Past
Look at how young Gardy looks:
This was right after his rookie season in 1981. His hair is tremendous. If he was willing to grow his hair out like that right now, I'd extend him for 30 seasons.
Q: Do we have to watch a nightmare happen its not as if the coach of the staff cares at this point. They Con MLB into having ALLSTAR game here.
A: It appears this question was written by a malcontent robot Twins fan. As such, I will respond to his question in his native language:
Poll Results/New Poll
I took a screen grab this time!
The Clete Thomas of GMs is vague. It depends on what you think of Clete Thomas, right? Those three people who thought they would be amazing as GMs are really confident. I voted for "bad." I'd be bad as a GM. I'd base far too many decisions on animal pun potential and hair length. I'll post a new poll at some point. When I do, please try to vote.
Link to Something I wrote - Animals play baseball
As I alluded to earlier, I photoshopped a bunch of Twins player heads on animal bodies. Here's one to get you interested:
If you want to know why this exists, what context this falls into, and if your favorite Twin made the cut, just click here! You'll be somewhat glad you did.
Parting thought - Jumping on a Bandwagon
I'm running out of things to say about this team. They're bad. Yep, we know. One thing though - I'm officially in the shut Joe Mauer down camp. There's no sense in having him risk more brain damage to win a couple of meaningless games. The team is a lot less fun to watch with Mauer in the clubhouse or at home, but his long-term recovery is worth 14 additional boring games in late September.
Have a great week, everyone!