October 23, 2021

‘They knew we could be very tough,’ said Tom Kelly 34 years ago this month

A check of Twins Territory on social media shows that, although the Twins are once again not playing meaningful baseball in October, that hasn’t stopped fans from reminiscing about the past, including the team’s run to the World Series in October 1987. I got caught up in it as well, finally watching clips of the Twins’ Game 5 win over the Detroit Tigers on Oct. 12 of that season.

During the postgame celebration, Marv Albert interviewed Twins manager Tom Kelly about whether the Tigers’ lack of respect for the Twins had made the win that much sweeter.

“I don’t believe the Detroit Tigers showed us a lack of respect,” Kelly replied. “They knew we had a good ball club. We played them enough through the course of the season. They knew we could be very tough.”

Well, that final statement isn’t quite supported by the facts because the team went 4-8 against the Tigers during the regular season and was outscored by 25 runs. And the Twins longest losing streak of the season was a 6-game skid in August that included an ugly sweep in Motown. The Twins lost 11-2 in Game 1 and the next two losses were progressively worse.

Old friend Jack Morris improved to 14-6 after the Game 1 win, while the Twins’ Steve Carlton (Yes, that Steve Carlton) was blasted for 11 hits, nine runs (six earned) over three lousy innings. He fell to 6-12 with a 5.92 ERA. Bert Blyleven fell to 12-10 after the 7-1 Game 2 loss, and then Doyle Alexander, the man out of time,* blanked the Twins on five hits to win 8-0 in Game 3.

Alexander pitched to a 5-10 record for the Atlanta Braves before he was traded to the Tigers for pitcher John Smoltz (ouch). Still, Alexander was perfect down the stretch, going 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA. At least in the short term, it looked like a hell of a trade for the Tigers. Unfortunately, Smoltz is in the Hall of Fame, while Alexander is not, although he won 194 games over a 19-year career in the big leagues.

The Twins went 13-15 in August 1987, but went 16-11 in September to inch over the line and win the division. In the American League Championship Series they punched the Tigers in the mouth, winning two games at home and two of three games in Detroit to send them to the World Series. In the ALCS, the Twins hit .270 as a team with 46 hits, including 13 doubles, eight home runs and one triple. The Tigers hit .240.

Extra innings…

-Twins Territory social media of late has also been one long lamentation about the number of ex-Twins playing in the postseason while the Twins are not. Perhaps the most notable has been former Twins left fielder, Eddie Rosario, who currently is hitting .571 for the Braves. Rosie spent six seasons with the Twins before he signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Guardians during the offseason. He was then traded to the Braves for Pablo Sandoval.

-I know it’s frustrating to see so many ex-Twins thrive once they leave, but most of those deals made sense for the team at the time.

-Few outside of Minnesota probably know that Lefty ended his career with the Twins. Carlton’s Hall of Fame credentials: 329 wins and 4,136 strikeouts.

And then there was this…

*I always thought of Alexander as a pitcher of a different era with that name and how he appeared on the mound. Tall, skinny and always sporting a mustache and never overpowering, yet he won a lot of ballgames.

Source: Baseball-Reference.com.

October 4, 2021

The real 2021 Twins finally showed up on the last day of the season

The team I think we all knew the Twins could be, a team that would make an immediate impact with its hitting, pitching and bullpen, finally showed up on Oct. 3, 2021, the final game of the season. It was hard not to feel that way watching them play on Sunday. Luis Arraez, the best... Continue Reading »

October 2, 2021

Twins pitching allows 21 runs in 2 games

The Twins’ disappointing 2021 season is winding down to a disappointing close after team pitching served up 10 runs on Thursday and 11 more on Friday. The Twins lost 10-7 to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, a game that was tit-for-tat for most of it until Motown pulled away late. As for Friday’s loss to... Continue Reading »

September 29, 2021

Twins edge Tigers for 70th win of the season

Well, I’m struggling to find the enthusiasm to write about the Twins as the disappointing 2021 season winds to a close, but here goes nothing… Two sacrifice flies and a home run — Miguel Sano’s 30th — were the difference as the Twins topped the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Tuesday before a home crowd of... Continue Reading »

September 27, 2021

Twins split series with Toronto after clutch hitting disappears

The Twins had to settle with a four-game split in their series against the Toronto Blue Jays. After wins Thursday and Friday, the Twins lost 6-1 on Saturday and 5-2 on Sunday. Contributing to the two losses was a serious lack of situational hitting. Over the weekend, the Twins went 1-for-16 with runners in scoring... Continue Reading »

September 25, 2021

How do you like the Twins now, Canada?

The spoiler tour rolled on Friday after the Twins topped the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1, knocking the Jays two games back in the AL wild card race. The Jays now find themselves tied with the Seattle Mariners for that second wild card spot. Not only did the Twins best the Jays for the second night... Continue Reading »

September 24, 2021

Twins play spoiler, beat Blue Jays in Game 1 of weekend series

Advantage: Minnesota. Not only because the Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 on Thursday, knocking the Jays a game back in the AL wild card race, but also because the Twins appear to have clearly come out ahead in their deal to get pitcher Joe Ryan in exchange for slugger Nelson Cuz. Yes, there’s... Continue Reading »

September 22, 2021

Twins finally score some runs in win over Chicago

For only the second time this month, the Twins scored nine or more runs against their opponent. They beat the Kansas City Royals, 9-2, on Sept. 11 and on Tuesday they banged out 16 hits, including three extra-base hits, to knock off the Chicago Cubs 9-5. The Twins scored first, then fell behind and then... Continue Reading »

September 20, 2021

Jays chase Twins’ Farrell, back Berrios with 5 runs in win

Sunday’s rubber match against the Toronto Blue Jays ended almost as quickly as it began. Reliever Luke Farrell got the nod for the Twins and his one inning of work went like this: strikeout, double, single, home run, single, single, single, single and his day was done. He allowed five runs on seven straight hits,... Continue Reading »

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Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.