2019 Minnesota Twins
2019 Minnesota Twins / Franchise: Minnesota Twins / BR Team Page
Managed by Rocco Baldelli
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2019 Minnesota Twins came into the season trying to redeem what was essentially a lost season in 2018, when they had failed to build on their reaching the 2017 Wild Card Game and finished well back of the division leaders, the Cleveland Indians. The poor performance had cost manager Paul Molitor his job, and he was replaced by Rocco Baldelli. The Twins had also made a few changes, with the retirement of local icon Joe Mauer. The two major additions were DH Nelson Cruz and 2B Jonathan Schoop.
The Twins got off to a very good start, with their hitting being particularly solid in the early going, with OF Eddie Rosario and Cruz the major weapons. On April 20th, they tied a team record set in 1963 when they hit 8 homers in the second game of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles. They had hit 3 in the first game, giving them 11 on the day, with Rosario hitting three, and Cruz, Schoop and C Mitch Garver hitting three each. They swept the two games, 6-5 and 16-7. A week later, on April 26th, again against the Orioles but this time at home, they hit three consecutive 1st-inning homers off Alex Cobb, then added two more later in the game on their way to a 6-1 win. It was their third five-homer game of the season already (they had had none in 2018). That gave them 42 homers for the year already, a pace well ahead of the franchise record - or even of the all-time record of 267 set by the New York Yankees the previous season.
On May 8th, following the completion of a three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Twins had the best record in the majors at 23-12. In the series, played on the road, they outscored the Jays 20-1 as they completely dominated them both at the plate and on the mound. On May 23rd, they blasted 8 homers in a 16-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels, with Miguel Sano and Schoop hitting two apiece to lead the way; these were not cheap shots either, as one Schoop's blasts went 467 feet, and 8 of the 9 traveled over 400 feet. This matched the team record for most long balls in a game, and was already the 4th time they had hit six or more in a game. They hit three more the next day in an 11-4 win over the Chicago White Sox to give them 101 after 50 games. They were leading the majors in both homers and runs (300), and still ahead of the all-time record pace for homers. They were the second team in history to hit 100 or more homers in their first 50 games, following the 1999 Seattle Mariners who had 102. They had also won 10 of their last 11 games.
On June 11th, the Twins gave out tee-shirts inscribed "Bomba Squad" to fans at Target Field to mark their home run-hitting exploits, and that same night they set a new team record for homers before the All-Star break - still a month away at that point - by hitting #126 and 127 back-to-back in the 4th inning, by Jonathan Schoop and Jason Castro, to set a new team record. The 1964 edition of the team had hit 124 before the break. The major league record of 161 long balls before the break was now in sight, as well as the all-time single-season record.
Awards and Honors
- Steve Gardner: "Minnesota Twins slug eight more home runs, on pace to shatter MLB single-season record", USA Today, May 23, 2019. 
- Do-Hyoung Park: Despite youth, Twins are back in win-now mode: Under new manager Baldelli, return to postseason appears within reach", mlb.com, March 24, 2019.