The Twins recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the team that won the 1991 World Series, including bringing former players to Target Field. Among them: Twins pitcher Kevin Tapani, who went 16-9 that season with a 2.99 ERA. Tapani started the 1991 season at 2-6 before going 14-3 to finish it, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
The Twins, like Tapani, have mostly played better baseball after the all-star break than before it, (according to my research, anyway) and once again we are seeing a Twins team that appears to be finding its true form, including their 5-4 walkoff win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
Sunday’s win marks the third straight series win for the Twins over Houston, Chicago and now Tampa, all first-place clubs. Up next, Cleveland comes to Target Field, which should be another series win for the Twins, or possibly even a sweep. Then, whether the Twins have truly improved will be put to the test: they play the Yankees, Red Sox and Brewers.
Griffin Jax gets the ball Monday.
-In the bottom of the ninth on Sunday, Max Kepler hit a leadoff double and advanced to third base on an error, then Jorge Polanco hit a deep sacrifice fly to win the game, 5-4.
-Twins starter Charlie Barnes allowed only a run over five innings, but he didn’t figure in the decision. The win went to closer Alex Colome, who improved to 3-4 on the season.
-The Twins scored five runs on four hits. How is that possible? Tampa pitching issued nine base on balls, including five by Rays starter Luis Patino. There’s your ballgame.
-Not only did Tapani finish the 1991 season strong, he also pitched a career low in walks, issuing 40 base on balls over 244 innings, or 1.5 walks per nine innings.
-On Aug. 15, 1993, the Twins’ Kirby Puckett, as he did so many times over his career, had himself a day against the Oakland A’s. Puckett went 5-for-5 at the plate, hitting two home runs, scoring two runs and driving in four more to beat the A’s 12-5. Despite the win, it was a long season, the Twins finishing in fifth place in the old AL West division at 71-91. It was a lost decade for the Twins after the 1991-92 seasons. They wouldn’t have a winning record again until 2000.