The 2023 season came to an end on Sunday for the Minnesota Twins.
Not literally, of course, but symbolically after the Twins were swept at home, finally losing in embarrassing fashion, 15-2. This may seem hard to believe, but the Twins actually scored the first run of the game and then watched as the Orioles reeled off 14 unanswered runs until Twins rookie Eddie Julien, the only bright spot in an otherwise terrible game, connected for a home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Twins their second run.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has ripped this team for a lot less, but on Sunday he appeared to back them 100 percent, according to an MLB.com story.
“I couldn’t believe in our team any more,” Baldelli told MLB.com. “I don’t know any other way to say that. That’s pretty straightforward. We have a lot of not just ability, but character and leadership — and all the things we want as a staff, as a manager, that you have in a roster, we have it.”
Starter Joe Ryan took the loss, despite striking out 10 batters over four-plus innings. Unfortunately, the bullpen had nothing to offer as Jovani Moran served up three runs, Cole Sands was rocked for six more and Jordan Balazovic topped it off with an additional run. Twins pitching allowed 17 hits, including six home runs.
Of course, now the question is: Where do they go from here? In my previous post, I said it was time for the Twins to move on from Joey Gallo and Max Kepler. There also has been a lot of social media chatter about dealing All-Star pitcher Sonny Gray. I agree. I question whether Gallo and Kepler attract anything of value, but Gray, dealt to a contender, likely does.
One reason the Twins could move on from Gray is that they recently signed former Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel to a minor league contract where he has so far pitched to a 0.64 ERA at Triple-A St. Paul, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Also of note: When Keuchel was signed by the Twins, the Star Tribune quoted him praising Baldelli for being a “player’s manager.” We’ve also recently had reports about a players-only meeting following the Braves’ sweep and how players are going to hold themselves accountable through some sort of undisclosed incentive plan. Another way to look at this is that the inmates are running the asylum, and one might ask: When do the adults, in the form of Baldelli and his coaching staff, start holding the players accountable as well?
Extra innings …
-Besides Julien, there was a second bright spot on Sunday: Reliever Jorge Lopez again made a scoreless appearance in the ninth, this time striking out two batters.
-Who got the pitching win on Sunday? Old friend Kyle Gibson, who cruised through the Twins lineup, allowing two runs on three hits over seven innings with a walk and 11 strikeouts. He is now 9-6 with a 4.60 ERA.
-Twins Territory social media was livid on Sunday. A sampling:
At this point the #MNTwins need to nuke the whole damn thing. From ownership all the way down.
— jason (@spardisjx) July 10, 2023
The Twins plan of 🤞🤞 for the second half is ridiculous.
Changes need to be made starting at the top.
— Dan Jorgensen (@DLeeJorgensen) July 10, 2023
The Yankees fire Dillon Lawson, but somehow #MNTwins coaches are safe? Best pitching and a losing record? Popkins, Hernandez & Shomon need to go! Trade Kepler & Pagan or DFA that crap! Does Pohlad care? Does Falvey need a better front office team? WTH??!!!
— BC Beneke (@BenekeBc) July 9, 2023
As bad as things have been, “Twins need to be sellers” is a complete galaxy-brain take. Have you seen the rest of our Division? #MNTwins
— Big Medical Biff (@biffthetick) July 9, 2023
The #mntwins losing to Kyle Gibson is priceless 😭
— tim berg (@timmaytoo) July 9, 2023
What happened today, and this series in general, was not okay and shouldn’t be acceptable from this organization. Don’t let the homers and apologists with “prime” in their handles tell you otherwise. #mntwins
— Alexi (@hoemauer) July 9, 2023
That’s a disturbing finish to a highly uninspiring first half of the season. There was zero fight from this #MNTwins outfit all weekend long. I have no idea how to make this better, or if it’s even possible to make it better.
— Brandon Johnson (@bwj8791) July 9, 2023
#MNTwins lost. By a lot. Let's agree never to speak of this game again.
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) July 9, 2023
I would break into someone else's car and leave them #mntwins tickets on their dashboard
— StogieMan (@StogieMan03) July 9, 2023
“This team, on paper, is better than a .500 ball club.” No, Dick, they are not. #MNTwins
— All Panic, No Disco (@radiodisco7) July 9, 2023
Gibby! Go #mntwins! Oh, wait…
— Zeb (@redheadzeb) July 9, 2023