An Ode to the 2015 Minnesota Twins
A playoff berth remained possible for the last two months of the season. A solid effort but just short for the Minnesota Twins. Knowing yesterday the Twins’ chances were now done, I felt disappointment. However, I was not frustrated. In fact, this season has given me great joy as a Twins fan.
As a 20 game season ticket holder, I enjoyed my time at Target Field. Regardless of the missed playoff berth.
The first game I attended was against the Cleveland Indians in April. In that game the Twins tied the game in the sixth eventually winning in the eleventh on Trevor Plouffe‘s walk-off home run.
Apr 17, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins third basemanTrevor Plouffe
(24) throws his bat after hitting a walk off home run in the eleventh inning against the Cleveland Indians at Target Field. The Twins won 3-2 in 11 innings. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
At the time Plouffe was in an awful slump hitting a lowly .143. From that game on he put together a career year. He set career highs in RBI (86), runs scored(74) and hits (140).
In May, what can I say? What a month it was for the Twins. Without 20-7 in May, there is no way the Twins would even be involved in a playoff discussion come the last weekend of the season. Every game I attended in May the Twins won, including a Memorial Day victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Early June, I listened intently to the Twins radio broadcast as they played the St. Louis Cardinals. In the second game at Target Field, a pitchers duel reached the late innings requiring the Twins to mount a comeback. Joe Mauer lined an opposite field home run to left field to tie the game at one. In the ninth, Kennys Vargas walked off the Cardinals.
Jun 18, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins first basemanKennys Vargas
(19) hits a walk off home run in the ninth inning against the St Louis Cardinals at Target Field. The Minnesota Twins beat the St Louis Cardinals 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
It was a win that helped the Twins gain some momentum going into July. Trying to keep pace with the first place Royals, Vargas’ homer was his biggest moment of the year.
The dramatics were far from over. In the first game of the series against the Orioles on July 6, I witnessed my second walk off home run of the year. Brian Dozier drove a two-run home run in the tenth inning. It was fitting that on the day MLB All-Star rosters were announced, he won the game for the Twins. Earlier that day, Twins fans found out Dozier would not be making the All-Star team. Instead he would be included in the final vote.
Four days later the Twins pulled off one of the biggest comebacks I have ever seen. Down 6-1 in the bottom of the ninth, the Twins rallied for seven runs to win 8-6. The comeback was capped off by a another walk off home run by Dozier. His second walk off home run of the week.
Jul 6, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins second basemanBrian Dozier
(2) points to the dugout after his walk off home run in the tenth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Target Field. The Minnesota Twins beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Dozier did eventually make the All-Star team and in his only at-bat, hit a home run. He was the Twins MVP this season. Like Plouffe, Dozier had a career year at the plate. He finished the year with career highs in five of the major offensive categories. He led second baseman in several defensive categories such as putouts, assists and double plays turned.
By August, Twins fans, myself included, were falling in love with rookies Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano. Rosario made his presence felt on the very pitch he saw as a major leaguer. He slapped a home run to left field becoming the 29 player to accomplish the feat. Sano, in his first 11 games, hit .378 with two home runs and eight RBI. Both rookies helped propel the Twins in a playoff push in August.
Aug. 1 my father, a life long Twins fan, celebrated his marriage. The Twins gave him the perfect wedding gift, a walk off win.
Aug 1, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins catcherKurt Suzuki
(8) celebrates hitting a walk off single in the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Target Field. The Twins won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners threw the game away, literally. Wild pitches set up Kurt Suzuki who lined a single to win the game.
Declared dead mid-August after being swept in New York, the Twins rallied like it was 2009. However, they could not get past the Astros for the second wild card spot. Now that their season is officially over the one constant success throughout the year was Kyle Gibson.
He took the ball every time the Twins asked him. Gibson’s record does not reflect the season he had. He had a career best 3.84 ERA, 194 1/3 innings pitched and 145 strikeouts. Gibson was able to work deeper into ball games this year. As a result he pitched the first complete game of his career.
Walk off hits, career years from Plouffe and Dozier, good pitching from Gibson, stellar rookies, and competitive baseball till the end made this season quite a joy. It is the kind of season that gives me great hope for the future to be even better.
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