Minnesota Twins MLB

Twins’ Season Is Over

Baseball gets people emotional, but Sunday was something else.

Before a pitch was even thrown, the emotions were raw. Joe Mauer’s daughters met him at first base as he took the field. He got a standing ovation when he stepped up the plate in the top of the first. He got another one when he legged out a double to, get this, the left-center field gap. And then the whole state of Minnesota was a slobbering mess when he took the field in catcher’s gear in the top of the ninth.

If Mauer isn’t retiring, he’s about to give us the greatest Minnesota goodbye ever.

There’s not a whole lot left to be said about Mauer, but you know we’ll all say it anyways. For the past 15 years, Twins fans had the chance to watch one of the most captivating baseball players in Twins history.

Sure he didn’t get us out of our seats as much as a Jim Thome or a Torii Hunter, but every time Mauer came up to bat, you had to watch. His approach at the plate was naturally conducive to drama. Just by taking as many pitches as he did, he drew you in. And he rewarded fans as much as any star with some big hits in key moments.

But enough about him (for now). Let’s take a moment to appreciate the rest of the team.

With the season-ending six-game winning streak, the Minnesota Twins ended the season 78-84. It sure doesn’t feel like it, but that’s only seven games worse than the playoff team of 2017.

The team finished strong, winning 11 of the final 14 and going 29-27 after Brian Dozier was traded. It’s not an incredible record, but it at least gives some hope for 2019.

2018 also saw the emergence of Kyle Gibson and José Berríos as two reliable pitchers. They may not be on the same level of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling when it comes to one-two punches, but it’s a building block.

There’s also plenty of young talent to remain excited about. Even if Byron Buxton left fans wanting more, there’s still the excitement that Eddie Rosario, Jake Cave, Willians Astudillo, and Tyler Austin brought. Not to mention the continued (if not somewhat marred) production of Jorge Polanco.

The core that most thought would help the Twins get back to the postseason this year wasn’t as good as expected, but it seems it didn’t take as many steps back as we previously thought.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done, but there’s always work to be done. There’s a bit of a hole at second base and certainly a short-staffed pitching corps, but a little luck with prospects and the free agent market, things could turn things around quickly.

But we’ll worry about that after the playoffs.

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