The Minnesota Twins’ end of summer swoon continues as they sink further in standings.
Despite a historically bad start to the season, the Minnesota Twins were actually competitive for a long stretch in the middle of the Summer.
Since then, they’ve sunk to near franchise-worst pace to finish a season.
It was fun for a while, no?
Now, the Twins will try to avoid breaking the record for most losses since moving to Minnesota in 1961. The 1982 team holds that dubious distinction, finishing 60-102. With a winning percentage of just .367, they are now under the ’82 team’s finishing .370.
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For such futility, you would have to go back to the Washington Senators of 1957, who ended that season at 55-99 (.357), during the time when teams played just 154 games.
The franchise record for losses and winning percentage was in 1904, when that squad finished 55.5 games out of first place with a 38-113 record (.252).
As bad as this year has been, luckily for Twins fans it’s not that bad.
That 1904 season, however, was only four games worse than the preceding season.
This 2016 edition is following a 2015 winning campaign, a team that didn’t even lose 80 games last year.
One record they won’t touch is held by the 2011 Twins. They followed a division-winning year in which the Twins finished 94-68 with an astounding 31-game downturn of 63-99.
This season, even if they lose 100 games, would only be worse than last year by 23 games.
For some reason the front office keeps reassuring the fan base that Paul Molitor will return, as if they are holding candlelight vigils hoping he somehow keeps his job.
With promising GM candidates on the horizon, hopefully they will be able to shape the coaching staff to their liking.
For the week, the Twins played seven games on the road, winning two games in Detroit and dropping all three to the New York Mets for a 2-5 record. They are a season-worst 31.5 games behind division-leading Cleveland.
UP: The one constant on this team, at least since the calendar turned to June, Brian Dozier. During the Detroit series, Dozier slammed his 40th and 41st home runs this year. That allowed Dozier to surpass Alfonso Soriano’s AL record for home runs by a second basemen in a season.
He singled in each of the games against the Mets, running his hitting streak to a career-high 22 games. His slash line for 2016 now sits at (.280 AVG / .573 SLG / .926 OPS / 41 HR / 99 R / 98 RBI).
Barring injury, Dozier will get 100 runs and RBI, only the ninth time in Twins history. The last Twin with 100/100 was Michael Cuddyer in 2006 when he went 102/109.
His 81 extra base hits are second-most in Twins history, behind only the 84 by Tony Oliva. He seems to be a lock to break that as well.
DOWN: Miguel Sano. The man without a steady position, Sano suffered a lower back injury this past week and was sent home from the Detroit series for a medical exam. He rested it for a few days before a batting cage session, but further pain caused the Twins’ front office to shut him down and send him home for tests.
It would appear that Sano has taken his last swings of 2016, but even more importantly, he will lose meaningful game experience defensively at third base. With right field out of the picture, and the 1B/DH spots so crowded at this time, Sano will need to prove physically that his body can take the rigors needed to play the hot corner, and then give him plenty of instructional help over the off-season to ready him for 2017.
UP: Hector Santiago and Ervin Santana. While they may not be flashing any “W’s” after their recent performances, it’s not for lack of effort on their part. They have each had four straight outings where they’ve allowed three runs or less – and have been rewarded with just three combined wins in those eight contests.
It gets worse for Santana. In his last 10 starts, he’s allowed two runs or less in eight of them. His record over his past ten? 4-2, with three consecutive no decisions going into his next start. He’s lowered his ERA to 3.38, good for 11th in the American League.
His seven wins are lowest for any starter with an ERA under 4.20 (23 total pitchers) in the AL. Only Julio Teheran of the equally dreadful Atlanta Braves has suffered more. Teheran sports a 5-10 record, despite his 3.18 ERA.
NOTES: In addition to Sano’s back woes, catcher Kurt Suzuki re-opened the gash on his chin during the Mets series. Eddie Rosario‘s season is probably over after apparently breaking his thumb while diving into first base in an attempt to beat out an infield single.
STRANGE, BUT TRUE, STAT OF THE WEEK: After Dozier’s two-run single against the Tigers in their finale, he had 30 hits, 11 home runs, 22 RBI during his then 19-game hitting streak. Only Harmon Killebrew (1961) and Kirby Puckett (1986) went 30-10-20 over a 19 game span in Twins history. Courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau.