Another sorry Twins season ends with a dull thud

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 30, 2013 - 6:43 AM

The Twins finished 66-96 again, with players clearing out quickly; some (many?) might not be returning.

The usual Target Field pregame rituals, the anthem and the first pitches and the flag-raising, were interrupted Sunday by a ballplayer. Glen Perkins had something to say.

Standing between home plate and the mound where he usually works, slowly reading from an eight-sentence script he wrote himself, the native Minnesotan tried to politely express his agreement with what he’s heard Twins ticket holders say for the past few years: Losing stinks. And so, by extension, do the Twins.

“Nobody is happy with the results of this club,” Perkins assured the half-full stadium, “and along with the people in our front office, we are committed to doing everything we can to improve this team.”

Did anyone feel better after hearing his pledge?

Yes. Perkins did.

“It was emotional to give, because I’ve been in their shoes, and I know how hard it is to be a fan of this team right now,” said the Lakeland native, who grew up watching the late-1990s Twins, the last group to lose as frequently as this team. “It definitely came from the heart. I know it’s difficult rooting for this team, but I wanted to convey that we’re not just here collecting paychecks, that we’re not just going through the motions.”

It’s difficult to imagine, though, how things would be much worse if they were. The Twins finished the 2013 season with a 66-96 record, identical to last year and the third consecutive year with such a staggering pile of losses. They scored just 614 runs, the fewest in a 162-game season since 1968, and they allowed 788, more than every team but Houston. They piled up 300 more strikeouts than any Twins team ever had, eclipsed 10 in 66 games, or 40 more than their old record, yet they are they only major league team whose pitchers didn’t strike out 1,000 batters.

No wonder Perkins felt the need to buck up the paying customers.

“We as players felt it was important to thank you directly for your support this year,” he said over the stadium P.A. “You have been there to support us through the good — and the bad.”

And the … what’s worse than bad? This was a team, after all, designed with a mid-lineup trio of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham as its engine. Once stripped of one cornerstone by concussion, another by trade and the third by hobbled-knee depreciation, the Twins collapsed into a barely competitive heap in September, losing 20 of their last 25 and the final six in a row.

“People saw how valuable those guys are, to our lineup as well as their presence in the locker room,” second baseman Brian Dozier said. “That’s a huge loss.”

And Sunday’s finale was a tediously typical one. The only thing unusual about Cleveland’s 10th consecutive victory, a 5-1 yawner, was the celebratory scrum near second base once the Indians clinched their postseason berth. Minnesota got a messy outing from its starting pitcher, fell behind in the first inning, committed three errors, failed to capitalize on its infrequent scoring chances, and struck out 15 times. Yeah, that’s about as boilerplate as a game gets.

There were bright spots, right? The Twins will select fifth in next year’s draft, behind the Astros, Marlins, White Sox and Cubs, a merit badge for ineptitude. And Dozier must have been satisfied with his season, having established himself as an everyday big-leaguer, correct?

“No. It’s not about individual things,” said the Twins’ unlikely home run leader. “We’re not in the playoffs. You want to have a good season, but if you’re not winning games, that just overshadows everything.”

So it was Sunday, in a Twins clubhouse in which few players lingered for long. As many as two-thirds of the current roster has reason to wonder if they will be back, and even the manager isn’t certain of his standing.

“This is an emotional day out in the clubhouse,” said Ron Gardenhire, who expects to learn Monday whether he will return for a 13th season in 2014. “We have to live with the things we did this summer and try to figure out a way to make them better.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question