Coming off one of their roughest losses of the season against the Kansas City Royals, the Tigers will head to Target Field in hopes of faring better against the Minnesota Twins. The Twins are currently only a half game back in the AL Central and are having one heck of a season.
They also just acquired Bartolo Colon after he was DFA’d by the Braves. We asked Maija Varda, managing editor of the SB Nation Twins blog Twinkie Town how Colon is doing, and what this season has been like so far for Twins fans.
BYB: So the Big Sexy Bartolo Colon show has moved to Minneapolis. Now that you’ve had a chance to see him in one game for the Twins, what are your thoughts?
TT: Never in my wildest dreams did I think the Twins were going to end up with Bartolo Colon. I honestly did not believe it when I heard the news, but I was actually at a Twins game and they quickly put it up on the scoreboard confirming it.
It’s a really low risk, high reward signing, so I’m on board. The Twins basically have nothing to lose but a roster spot and maybe a couple games that they’d have probably lost anyway. They needed a fifth starter (and probably a fourth one too), and Colon seems to fit the bill. Sure, he gave up four runs in his first start here against the Yankees, but I thought he actually looked pretty swell for a few innings at least. Also, from what I’ve heard, he’s been pretty popular in the clubhouse. And with fans. It also apparently made the Mets mad.
Now, do I think Colon will stay with the Twins the rest of the season? Probably not. Despite recent rumors, I don’t think he’s going to just retire on his own unless the Twins DFA him, but I also think the Twins will probably DFA him, barring some drastic improvement. We have both Justin Haley and Hector Santiago coming back from injury soon, and they’re going to have to fit on the roster somewhere. Dillon Gee is also down in Triple-A desperately trying to get back to the majors.
The Twins are neck and neck with the Indians right now, only 0.5 games back as of this writing. Do you think they still have it in them to make a push for a division win?
Sure, why not? I thought the Indians would be running away with the division by now, but they aren’t. Really, it all comes down to whether the Twins pitching can stabilize and be successful enough to keep winning. Maybe Bartolo Colon will be part of that. Maybe he won’t. The Twins also have a couple of their starting pitching prospects--Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero--still down in the minors waiting to make their major league debut. If the Twins called up one of those guys and they did really well right away (hey, I can dream!!!), I’d say they would definitely have a shot at winning the division.
Pretty sure we would not make it far in the playoffs, though.
What’s it like to love a team that’s regularly bottom of the division? I think I’ll need tips for the next couple of years.
The Twins were pretty successful in the 2000s, so I still kind of think of them that way because I’m a lunatic. Also, I may have blocked many things out of my recent memory. I still have a picture from Game 163 as the lock screen on my phone.
But yeah, I guess the Twins were kinda bad there for awhile, huh?
Honestly, you just kind of get used to it. At least I did. The biggest thing for me is I just didn’t get mad over it. Some fans get really, really mad, and I just don’t see the point in that. I watch baseball for fun, and I still have fun watching the Twins even when they are losing. It’s still an escape. I have so many actual, real life things to get stressed out and mad over it seems really silly to get bent out of shape over the Twins. You can make a lot of good jokes about a bad team. It was also easy to be hopeful for the future in the case of the Twins, because I knew Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton and all were coming soon.
Who has been the most surprising player for the Twins this season?
Brandon Kintzler. How the hell did he end up being an All-Star?
Which of the Tigers are you most concerned about seeing in this series?
The ones facing Kyle Gibson.
With the trade deadline looming and the team doing so well, do you think the Twins are going to be buyers, or will they stand pat? I haven’t seen many rumors about them looking at the market. [Ed. note, it now seems like the Twins may acquire Jaime Garcia from the Braves.]
It’s hard to predict what the Twins will do because they have a whole new front office this year, but yeah, GM Thad Levine has publicly said they aren’t really aggressively pushing for anything. Levine said they might be interested in bringing in a longer-term player who could help them beyond this year, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Most of our prospects just got up here--they aren’t looking to sell them now.
Honestly, how big of a surprise has this season been for Twins fans?
I’m probably less surprised than people might think. The 103-loss thing last year was kind of like a freak incident. No matter what the Twins were going to be a lot better this year. I knew we had a lot of very young, talented players who were going to start hitting their stride. I’m not at all surprised at Miguel Sano’s success, for instance. I knew he’d be a lot better once they weren’t playing those “we’re going to make you an outfielder now” mind games on him.
Can you guys go back to being Twinkle Town?
Ha. When SB Nation rolled out their new site design, the Twinkie Town logo actually said “Twinkle Town”. They fixed it, and then a couple days later it reverted back, so they fixed it again. I fully expect it to switch back to Twinkle Town at some random point in the future.
Thanks to Maija for taking the time to answer our questions. Head over to Twinkie Town to read more of her coverage of the Twins, or follow her on Twitter @KirbysLeftEye.