For the third time in eight days, the Minnesota Twins were close enough to smell the champagne. But they're a long way from tasting any.
The Twins capped their 2013 season with a 5-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Target Field Sunday. Their 10th straight victory allowed the Indians to wrap up a playoff spot for the first time in six years.
Three of the five American League teams in the post-season clinched their berths against the Twins, giving Minnesota an up-close view of how those celebrations are done. But the Twins finish their season with 96 losses, which is the same number as last year.
The final game typified the Twins season in that they were strikeout kings -- at the plate, that is. If you check the box score, you'll see that their 16 strikeouts included at least one by every hitter in the Twins lineup. (Late inning defensive substitute Doug Bernier never came to the plate.) That gave Twins hitters 1,417 in 2013, which is the third most by a team in major league history.
So now that we've (quickly) closed the book on 2013, what's next for the Twins? A decision on whether to bring back Ron Gardenhire for a 13th season as manager seems to top the to do list. Gardenhire, who has 998 career wins as a manager, said before Sunday's game he was not worrying about the uncertainty of his future with the Twins.
According to a story on the Twins' website, Gardenhire planned to sit down with General Manager Terry Ryan after Sunday's game and a decision is expected before the playoffs begin, which is Tuesday night.