Game 162: One and Done

It is with a heavy heart that I post today's Game Log, the final of the 2015 season. At 83-78,* the Twins are 13 wins better than at this point last year and will finish 2nd in the AL Central, 7th-best record in the AL. As recently as Friday, I was confident the local nine would have at least one additional, meaningful game this year, which is quite a few more than anyone expected when they opened in Detroit on April 6. Couple of things to pass along:

"The curtain came down so to speak, but it was a pretty good show," manager Paul Molitor said. "Some of the acts were a little sketchy at times and we tried to move on to the next scene."

Torii Hunter after loss: "This could be my last game..."

The Royals can still lock up home field advantage with a win today, so I don't expect them to let off the gas. Midseason acquisition Johnny Cueto (great before the trade deadline, okay-to-bad for most of July & August) goes for Kansas City. He's cleaned things up a bit, posting a 3.60 ERA in his past three starts.

Despite spending big bucks by adding some arms over the past few years, the Twins rotation is still a work in progress. Ricky Nolasco will start today, his first start since the last day of May. Makes sense to me - showcase him for a trade, or convince yourself that he's back and ready to contribute in 2016, either way, Nolasco was not good this year. Pelfrey was not good. Hughes was not good. Milone was up & down ... not bad, per se, but not good either. Santana was good for a few starts, then he wasn't, then he was. Gibson was the Twins best pitcher this year. I agree with Patrick:

"...the Twins screwed up when they took Trevor May out of the rotation on July 1 and put him in the bullpen. The odds would have been much better of maintaining the competence of the rotation with May taking his turn.
-Reusse

I am excited for next year, though for now I'm feeling a bit sad. Hopefully we'll see Kepler's first start, Buxton in Center, Sano at Third and a pinch-hit homerun from ii so he can tip his cap and feel like he left it all on the field.

*An 84-78 season last year would have put the Twins in 4th place in the AL Central and tied for 8th in the American League ... to further quote Reusse:

This was a year when mediocrity ruled the second level of the American League, and that had more to do with the Twins’ status as a contender than an indication this was a team waiting to explode into excellence.
...
The Twins will finish with the seventh-best record among 15 AL teams. The candid opinion here is they are closer in talent to the three or four teams behind them than the five making up the AL’s playoff field.

57 thoughts on “Game 162: One and Done”

  1. I actually think the Twins have quite a bit of talent. One question going into next year, though, is whether the Twins will be willing to put the most talented players on the field.

    1. I'd also say there's a question about whether the most talented players have the experience they need. Some got it this year, some didn't.

  2. We get Kepler, Buxton, Vargas, and Santana, with Sano DHing. I'd rather see Sano at third, but whatever.

  3. Unless it's a long game, I won't be around for it. I know it's meaningless, but I still always like to end the season with a win. Bring it home, guys.

          1. Yeah, the rotation sounds a lot better for next year than out did this year:

            Duffey
            Hughes
            Milone
            Gibson
            Berrios
            (in no particular order)

            I know lots of people want May back in the rotation, but I'm not as big on it. He seems to have thrived in the bullpen and the twins seemingly have good pitching talent on its way. Why not have what looks to be a really good late inning trio. Of May, Jepsen and Perkins?

            1. For me it's because right now, May might be better than the five listed. The other reason is because teams never need only five starters in a season.

              1. My thinking is that he hasn't really been all that good as an MLB starter but he's been quite good as a reliever.

                1. 3.35 FIP as a starter this season. For comparison, the best FIP by a full time starter this year was Gibson's 3.96. Tyler Duffey had a 3.24 FIP over his 10 starts. Nolasco had a 3.02 before today's start.

                2. That reminds me, I wanted to ask about Reusse's comment above. Was he saying that at the time about May, or is this just a classic second-guess? My recollection is that at the time, most people thought May was the right person to send to the bullpen.

  4. The Blue Jays trotted Buhrelelele out there to get him to 200 IP this season. He needed 2 innings.

    He gave up 7 runs on 5 hits and got 2/3 IP, so he'll fall short of 200 IP. And I'd say the Royals have a real good shot at HFA.

      1. It's not like he didn't beat the Twins with an eerily similar first inning earlier this season

    1. Lame.

      At that point, down 7, just leave him in unless you think he's injured. I know they're trying for home field and they have a good offense, but eh.

      Then again, maybe Mark wouldn't want the milestone handed to him without earning it.

      Hopefully they have a need for him in the ALCS so he can retire on a good note.

      1. It sounds like he's retiring after the regular season and won't be on the playoff roster. That seems like kind of a bummer for him.

  5. I don't know if it was televised, but Torii addressed the crowd before the game and said that next year "we're going to win the world series", so it sounds like he intends to be back.

  6. Cutting through the football tweets is word that Ichiro is pitching for the Marlins. Topping out at 88mph!

  7. Thanks to nibbs and CoC for the game logs this weekend. Not every game log intro needs to say much of anything, but it's nice to wrap up the season with a little more commentary. Nicely done, guys!

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