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.
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.