It was a beautiful (albeit cold) day at Target Field on Sunday. As I sat in one of the deepest parts of center field with my family, and a smattering of families from our elementary school. Despite the smiles being hidden by masks, and friends being separated by seats that had been zip-tied closed, our school outing was a fundraising success. It even looked like we’d be walking away with a win. Hooray!
<Enter Alex Colomé in the 9th and cue the record scratch>
I sent this text to the other Twinkie Towners in the 9th of the game after Colomé blew yet another save:
We here at Twinkie Town were fairly pumped to have had the Twins sign the veteran reliever back in February. In 2016, he was an All Star, and in 2017, he lead all of the majors with 47 saves. His only ‘bad’ season was the first half of 2018 - but then he was traded to Seattle, got his head on straight, and dominated his opponents by giving up just 13 earned runs in 46.1 innings. As the White Sox closer, he amassed 30 saves in 2019, and put up a .081 ERA in his 12 saves in 2020’s shortened season. So it was a safe bet that he’d be a suitable replacement for some of those arms that we lost in the off season.
But so far? I’m underwhelmed.
Granted, he’s only appeared in 5 games in this very young season, but in said 5 games... well it’s not good. He blew the save in his first appearance on Opening Day - though, none of the three runs scored in the ninth were technically earned by him and
Rob Manfred Randy Dobnak got the loss in the tenth. And Sunday’s loss saw Colomé most definitely earn the three runs that lost the game in the ninth. He does have two saves under his belt so far, but the two blown saves have definitely put a shadow over his overall performance.
Ok, so I don’t think he’s actually still in cahoots with his former team, but I do think he’s got some work to do in order to prove himself as someone who can be our go-to guy in the ninth here in Minnesota. As fans, we’ve been spoiled by closers like Everyday Eddie or Joe “Stand up and Shout” Nathan, knowing that once they come into the game, you might as well start heading to the parking lot because it’s lights out. When guys like that are still in the memory of Twins fans, it’ll be hard to stack up, no matter who you are.
Part of me is wondering when we are going to hear about some nagging injury as he’s sent to the IL to be able to put another pitcher (cough cough Devin Smeltzer) in the rotation while he works out his new-team kinks. (Or maybe when they do the same with a struggling Cave or Sano and bring in Kirilloff, but that’s for a different post entirely).
In any case, I am hoping that Colomé can get his head on straight before we get too deep into the season. The damage done so far has been minimal, but I’m waiting to see the lights-out guy we thought we were signing. I know it’s easy for me to be a keyboard warrior and talk about what I think the Twins should be doing, but it also wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the Twins put someone else in the ninth for a while until Colomé can become the fearsome beast we know he is.