Perhaps it’s the Chicago White Sox, and not the New York Yankees, that truly give the Twins a hard time.
I say that after the Twins lost to the South Siders on Monday for the sixth time this season. That would be easier to stomach if the Pale Hose were a team on the rise, but they are not. Even after Monday’s 8-5 win at Target Field, the White Sox are still 30 games under .500.
To make matters worse, the Sox made a mess of starter Stephen Gonsalves’ major league debut for the Twins. Prior to being called up, Gonsalves posted a 12-3 record in the minors with a 2.76 ERA. And yet he didn’t last long Monday.
“It is something I’ll never feel again,” Gonsalves told MLB.com. “I was very excited to get out there. That first inning couldn’t have gone any better. Then the second inning, the game kind of sped up on me, and I got hit around a little bit. A couple unlucky balls found holes. Kept pitching and battled, but it wasn’t working out for me.”
Gonsalves gave up six hits and four runs, all earned, in 1.1 innings and was gone after 55 pitches. He also walked two batters, struck out three and exited with an ERA of 27.00. It wasn’t all his fault. Every reliever gave up a run, except for Oliver Drake, who pitched two scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Drake joined the Twins after he was claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Jose Berrios gets the ball Tuesday.
-The Twins are 28-26 versus the American League Central after Monday’s loss.
-I finally finished “Game Time,” a collection of non-fiction baseball stories by longtime baseball scribe Roger Angell. I’ve blogged about the book over the past few weeks, sharing my occasional displeasure with the fact that Angell appeared to have little interest in the Twins. I know, I know, he’s written other books, and perhaps he has written about the team before and I just haven’t come across that story. Somehow I doubt it, though. At least in Game Time, his view of baseball rarely extends beyond the Hudson River.
His final story in Game Time is about the 2002 postseason and the Anaheim Angels, the eventual winner of the World Series that year. The Twins also were in the playoffs in 2002. Angell devotes all of three sentences to the Twins, acknowledging that they won their division in the face of being contracted by the league. That’s not unforgivable, but it’s an oversight.
The Twins won 94 games that year and ran away with the division, winning it by 13.5 games. Longtime Twins outfielder Torii Hunter spoke highly of that season after he retired.
“There was no one team more special than the 2002 Twins. I remember sitting in the clubhouse one day in Spring Training that year with David Ortiz, Corey Koskie, Doug Mientkiewicz and Jacque Jones, reading the newspaper. The Twins were coming off five-straight 90-plus loss seasons, and we were supposed to get contracted that year — ripped apart and all the players dispersed to other teams in a draft. The beat writers talked about us being contracted, calling us the ‘best Triple-A team in baseball.’
“So we decided that if that was gonna be our last time playing with each other, we wanted to leave it all on the field. We went out that year with a chip on our shoulder, with an attitude. We wanted to destroy everyone. We won 94 games that year. We won the AL Central and beat the A’s in the ALDS. We did things nobody expected us to do.”
The Oakland A’s won 103 games that season, including 20 games in a row, and General Manager Billy Beane and his “moneyball” ways were the talk of baseball. The Twins met the A’s in the first round of the playoffs and punched them in the mouth, winning the series in five games.
Remember that, Roger?