2017 Minnesota Twins
2017 Minnesota Twins / Franchise: Minnesota Twins / BR Team Page
Clinched Wild Card: September 27, 2017
Managed by Paul Molitor
History, Comments, Contributions
After an awful season in 2016, the 2017 Minnesota Twins found themselves in the unlikely position of being on top of the AL Central standings at the end of May, with a record of 26-23, percentage points ahead of the Cleveland Indians. However, that position was shaky as they ended the month by being swept in a three-game series at home by the Houston Astros. In those three games, they had given up a whopping 40 runs.
On June 13th, the Twins set a franchise record with 28 hits in a 20 - 7 drubbing of the Seattle Mariners at Target Field. Eddie Rosario belted three homers - the last off back-up catcher Carlos Ruiz - and drove in 5 runs to lead the onslaught; Eduardo Escobar had five hits and Jason Castro and Kennys Vargas four each, while Max Kepler and Brian Dozier also went deep. The 28 hits were the most by any major league team since the Rangers had 29 when they scored 30 runs in a game against the Orioles on August 22, 2007. The franchise record dated back to 1933, when the Washington Senators had collected 27 hits in a game; the Twins also set a franchise record with 21 singles. They set another team record on June 22nd, albeit a more obscure one, as they endured a rain delay of 4 hours and 50 minutes before the first pitch of a scheduled afternoon game against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. It was the longest rain delay since the team had moved to Minnesota in 1961, although for a span of 28 years during that time, they played indoors at the Metrodome where weather was not an issue. The two teams were determined to get the game in the books, as the alternative was to lose a rare scheduled off-day on August 28th. However, the insistence on waiting out the rain proved to be ill-advised for the Twins, as they were thoroughly trounced, 9-0, when the game was finally played; it was the 10th time in their last 12 games that they had given up 5 or more runs, the main reason they were now losing ground quickly, having fallen to two and half games back of the Indians after having led the division by the same margin less than two weeks earlier.
As the trading deadline came, the Twins were uncertain where they stood. They seemed to be buyers at first, acquiring P Jaime Garcia from the Atlanta Braves, but after he had made only one start, which he won, they turned around and sent him to the New York Yankees in return for two prospects on July 30th. One day later, they also traded closer Brandon Kintzler, who was in the midst of a career year, to the Washington Nationals for another prospect. Yet, after a tough first week in August, they began to play as well as any other team in the league, and by the end of the month were back in the running for a wild card spot. One of the heroes of that month was CF Byron Buxton, who was beginning to display the talent that had been expected of him ever since the Twins had made him the #2 pick of the 2012 amateur draft. Buxton had his first multi-homer game when he hit three long balls in a 7-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on August 27th.
On September 12th, the Twins set a major league record by homering in each of the first seven innings on their way to a 16-0 beatdown of the San Diego Padres. The seven homers were also a team record for Target Field. Jason Castro connected twice and Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario, Eduardo Escobar and Kennys Vargas all went deep once. On September 27th, a loss by the Los Angeles Angels against the White Sox clinched a spot for the Twins in the postseason as the second wild card team, in spite of their losing to the Indians that day. It was their first postseason appearance since 2010. they were also the first team in major league history to qualify for the postseason the year after losing 100 or more games.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Brandon Kintzler, Miguel Sano and Ervin Santana
- AL Manager of the Year Award: Paul Molitor
- AL Gold Glove: Byron Buxton (CF) and Brian Dozier (2B)
- Eric Stephen: "Minnesota Twins clinch AL Wild Card berth a year after losing 103 games" SB Nation, September 28, 2017