The Yankees made it official tonight with a 4-1 win over the Twins, but the series winner was really Friday night. I'll probably be mulling over that game until spring training next year. Where I end up on that and what moves the team makes this winter will determine just how much I decide to emotionally invest in the Twins next year.
I just watched a TV clip where Joe Nathan talked about how the Twins can hold their heads high. Way to embrace your inner mediocrity, Joe. Yes, it was an amazing game on Tuesday, but if the Twins really do believe that their performance in the ALDS is something to be proud about then we might as well never set our sights higher than AL Central champs. Some things have got to change.
I'll leave players for another post, but I think the most obvious change has to be with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson. Over the winter they need to get with management and figure out which players they can keep motivated for, you know, the entire season, and which players are either going to stop making stupid mistakes over and over or get jettisoned.
Case in point: Nick Punto tonight. The third head of the Twins' base running Cerberus appeared when Punto blew past the stop sign from the third base coach and got picked off at third. It's the Twins version of Godwin's law: As a week of baseball progresses, the probability of Casilla, Gomez, and Punto all making some kind of boneheaded base running mistake approaches one.
That's not to let the pitchers off the hook. I like Rick Anderson, but this year his young rotation actually went backwards for the most part and the season ends with me baffled as to why he seems to have little control over them. A really Darwinian spring training shakeout should be in the works for all of the Twins pitchers, and Anderson and Gardenhire need to make that clear.