On deck -- reality

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 29, 2011 - 11:20 AM

The Twins won their last two and avoided 100 losses, but history has been cruel to clubs losing 98 or more.

hide

The Twins celebrated a 1-0 victory over Kansas City (and avoiding a 100-loss season) by mobbing Trevor Plouffe (left) after his game-winning hit Wednesday, but history has not been kind to teams coming off a season of 98 losses or more.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The 2012 Twins are 0-0 and haven't even suffered their first injury yet, but already they have something working against them: history.

Three teams have reached the postseason after losing 97 games the previous year -- the 1991 Braves, the 1999 Diamondbacks, and the Diamondbacks again this year -- but no team has done it the year after losing 98 or more games.

On Wednesday night, the Twins capped a forgettable 2011 with a memorable finale, defeating the Royals 1-0 to avoid the dreaded 100-loss mark.

Carl Pavano pitched nine masterful innings, Denard Span delivered a pinch-hit double in the ninth, Trevor Plouffe lined a walk-off single, and an announced crowd of 36,488 at Target Field saluted a team that finished 63-99.

"Kind of a storybook way to get out of this season," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Get a couple big hits there at the end and win it like that in front of these fans who have been so good to us. It sure makes you feel a lot better going into the offseason."

The Twins went 94-68 last year to win their sixth division title in nine years. On Wednesday, they narrowly avoided becoming the first team to lose 100 games after winning two consecutive division titles or pennants, according to STATS.

Also, according to Elias, the Twins suffered the biggest one-year decline in win totals since the Diamondbacks went from 84 to 51 wins in 2003-2004.

"We started out with high hopes, and right out of the door we started getting beat up," Gardenhire said. "Too many injuries, and we didn't play very well. It turns into one of those seasons you want to forget."

There were other memorable moments: Francisco Liriano's no-hitter, Jim Thome's 600th home run and Joe Nathan becoming the Twins' all-time saves leader.

But after losing their season opener 13-3 at Toronto on April 1, the Twins suffered their first big injury April 6, when Tsuyoshi Nishioka broke his leg.

They never recovered. By April's end they were 9-17, and on June 1 they fell to 17-37. They renewed hope with a 15-2 run that proved nothing more than a mirage for a team that battled injuries and incompetence.

Gardenhire used his Opening Day lineup only once -- on Opening Day -- as the Twins wound up using the disabled list 27 times.

On July 29, the Twins were 50-56 and six games behind the division-leading Tigers. But after stumbling through the final two months for a 13-43 finish, the Twins ended up 32 games behind Detroit.

"Hopefully this was just a little bump in the road for what this organization has been for the last 10 years," Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said. "We've had a lot of success, and that's what we expect."

If only there had been more nights like Wednesday for the Twins, who went 33-48 at home. But the players, young and old, have known this was going to be a lost year for weeks. They trudged on through loss after loss and disappointment after disappointment.

For one night, it felt good to celebrate again, even if they were celebrating something they weren't all that proud of.

"I don't know how to say this, but at this point right now, how you can feel so glad to just lose 99 games?" Pavano said. "Not that I'm happy to lose 99, but it's a lot better than 100."

Joe Christensen • jchristensen@startribune.com

  • SEASON FINALE TWINS 1, KANSAS CITY 0

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:07 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 6:00 PM
Orlando
New York 6:30 PM
Toronto
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Houston
Miami 7:00 PM
Memphis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Chicago
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Utah
Sacramento 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Denver 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Dallas 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Colorado
Carolina 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Columbus 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 7:00 PM
Chicago
Montreal 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close