May 15, 2018

Thinking of you, Ron Gardenhire

Forget that the Twins were shutout on four hits Monday night and consider this: The Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians and are now 18-22 this season.

I know you’re thinking: So what? Well, the Tigers were picked by many to finish dead last in the American League Central with 90 or more losses in 2018. Meanwhile, the Twins, a team that made the playoffs last season, were expected to contend this season, and some predicted that the club would even displace the Tribe atop the AL Central. And yet the Twins lead the Tigers by only a half game at 17-20.

It gets worse: Niko Goodrum, who was drafted by the Twins in 2010, hit two home runs Monday night to beat the Tribe and went 3-for-4, including a home run, to beat the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

The Detroit Free Press also points out that the Tigers could be in first place this week. The headline reads: Detroit Tigers could be in first place Wednesday night. Wait, what?

The series wraps up Wednesday afternoon. If the Tigers sweep Cleveland, and the Twins lose two of their next three (hosting the Mariners for one and then the Cardinals for two), Detroit would tie the Tribe for first in the Central at 20-22 with Minnesota a half-game behind.

Even the Free Press says the Tigers aren’t very good.

We know, we know. The Tigers don’t have the look of a first-place squad. Or the starting rotation. Or the lineup. Or the bullpen. Or the … well, you get the point.

So, what the hell is going on? What’s going on is that the team is managed by former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. And if the Tigers continue to overachieve, it will serve as a reminder that Gardenhire should still be in a Twins uniform. When Gardenhire was with the Twins, he won six division titles in nine seasons. Who gets fired after that kind of performance? Well, Gardenhire did and then his boss, Terry Ryan, went with him.

There’s no denying that current Twins manager Paul Molitor is well liked by his players and managed to turn around a team that lost 103 games in 2016. But when the Twins are in a funk, like they have been for most of this season, give me a guy like Gardenhire, who will vault the dugout rail and fight for his team by getting in the face of the nearest umpire. Gardenhire has been ejected twice this season, including on Saturday.

Gardenhire has been ejected more than 70 times in his career.

Extra innings…

-The Twins should be embarrassed after getting only four hits against Seattle Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc, who has spent 10 seasons in the bigs, has never had a winning record and his career ERA is 4.35.

-Jose Berrios gets the ball Tuesday.


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.