Posted by: gravessack | October 4, 2017

Twins Squander Playoff Opportunity

On September 27, the Twins surprised the masses by securing a spot in the AL Wild Card game. At that point, they had gained recognition as the first team to lose 100 games and make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. There were positive vibes, and Chief Officer Derek Falvey said this team could make a deep run. However, the daunting task was finalized a few days later: the Twins had to face the Yankees in the Bronx on October 3. That was trouble since their playoff losing streak was at 12 games, mostly at the hands of New York.

The Twins started the contest with a bang. Second baseman Brian Dozier hit a home run of starter Luis Severino in the first inning. A couple batters later, Eddie Rosario smashed a two-run homer to right. Severino was taken out after recording just one out. The Twins could had done more damage as they had two runners on with one out, but nothing more materialized. Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana throwing a pitchThis was setting up so nicely! But, then came the bottom of the inning. After a walk and a single, Twins ace Ervin Santana offered a meatball to Didi Gregorius for a home run. The winner-take-all game was tied at 3 at the end of the 45-minute first.

The Yankees retook the lead with a Brett Gardner home run in the second. After just two innings, Santana was done for the night, surrendering four runs on three hits, on his way to a disappointing 18.00 ERA. He had no command at all! However, the Twins came back again to tie it in the third. With the bases loaded, Byron Buxton grounded into a force play and beat out a would-be double play. Speaking of Buxton, he made a great catch in the 2nd inning, which eventually sidelined him after he stole second in the 4th. He was taken out due to a back injury.

Meanwhile, the Twins bullpen could not keep the game tied very long. Reliever Jose Berrios, who was given the loss, gave up a single to Greg Bird in the 3rd inning, bringing around the fifth Yankee run. New York crushed the Twins dreams in the 4th when Aaron Judge smoked a two-run homer to left field.

Minnesota Twins designated hitter Kennys Vargas watching AL wild card game in dugout with teammates

Kennys Vargas pondering what could have been after Tuesday’s loss.

The bullpen tried its hardest from there to keep the Twins in the game. It was not meant to be as relief guy Trevor Hildenberger walked former Twin Aaron Hicks to score the eighth run in seventh.

After that, the Yankees’ Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman shut down the Twins offense. Kahle gave up no hits in his 2.1 innings of work, earning a hold. Chapman and his 100 mile-an-hour fastball closed the game. After first baseman Joe Mauer singled with two outs, Jorge Polanco went down swinging to end a season of surprises and dashing hopes and dreams of fans and players alike. Twins personnel held their heads high knowing very few people had them making it this far.

And so, as this year has come and gone, decisions have to be made with the coaching staff, including the fate of Manager Paul Molitor. Will we see a coaching staff overhaul? Or will just a few be dismissed? If so, will Molitor survive? Stay tuned this week to find out!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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