With the season completed, it’s time to look back on the 2017 Minnesota Twins season. We’ll start with the opening month of April.
The Minnesota Twins have completed their season, and it’s now time to take a look back at what was an exciting ride for Twins fans!
Puckett’s Pond will be doing a series first on each month of the season and then by position. Check back each day for different pieces of our look at the 2017 playoff Minnesota Twins!
The Twins opened the 2017 season with a 12-11 record, which was a surprising start after a 103-loss season in 2016. Most importantly, all but three games in the month were against AL Central foes, including an opening series 3-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals, a recent perennial contender, really putting a strong start to the 2017 season. On the month, they had both a 4-game winning streak (to open the season), and a 4-game losing streak, but like their 12-11 record, they weren’t too long in a winning or losing streak over the month. The one team they struggled with was the Cleveland Indians, who swept a 3-game set at Target Field April 17-20 by a combined score of 20-7.
Individuals of note
One of the few hitters to hit well on the month, Miguel Sano was honored with the American League Player of the Week for the week ending April 30th, where he hit .524/.545/1.000 over 5 games with a double and 3 home runs, driving in 11 runs. Overall on the month, he hit .316/.443/.684 with 6 doubles, a triple, and 7 home runs. He also put a spark into the team in other ways, most notably resulting in the on field fight on April 22nd against the Tigers.
On the flip side was center fielder Byron Buxton, whose bat was struggling terribly, as he hit .147/.256/.176 on the month, and though he did walk 11.5% of the time, he also struck out 37.2% of the time.
The guy who really turned heads on the month was starter Ervin Santana. He set forth what would be a top season where he will likely receive some Cy Young Award votes with a big April, going 4-0 over 5 starts, throwing 35 innings with a 0.77 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, and a 10/26 BB/K ratio.
Hector Santiago came out of the World Baseball Classic on a high, and he brought that forward into his first month, making 5 starts, going 2-1, throwing 29 2/3 innings with a 2.43 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and a 8/23 BB/K ratio.
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While Santana and Santiago set the top of the rotation in a strong manner, Kyle Gibson left the middle of the rotation in shambles through the month. In 5 April starts, he went 0-3 with an 8.06 ERA and 1.84 WHIP over 22 1/3 innings with a 10/13 BB/K ratio.
In the bullpen, righty Ryan Pressly had a rough start to the year that would make the rest of his season look worse. He made 12 appearances in April, but only lasted 9 innings, posting an 8.00 ERA. He did post a solid WHIP of 1.11 due to a 1/9 BB/K ratio.
Closer Brandon Kintzler had no such issues to open the season. He made 11 appearances, throwing 11 1/3 innings, posting a 0.79 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 4/6 BB/K ratio. He also saved 7 games.
April Top Hitter: Miguel Sano
April Top Pitcher: Ervin Santana
In looking at other items from the month, I noted that the opening day attendance was 39,615. There was no other game of the month on the season that even came within 12,000 of that amount. The best attended series was actually not the opening series, which drew just over 70,000 against division rival and frequent recent contender Kansas City (and included opening day), but instead was a 3-game weekend set with the Detroit Tigers, where just over 75,000 attended the games. Ironically, the best team the Twins faced on the month, the Cleveland Indians, drew a crowd of under 50,000 total for the 3-game set.