The period after an MLB division clinch is always a bit of a twilight zone. Regular season games continue—and sometimes a Bobby Kielty will do something memorable—but for the most part the focus shifts towards putting the best postseason foot forward.
As such, I wanted to take this opportunity—before “serious baseball” begins again in October—for one last look at the 2013 squad we’ve been remembering (if not as fondly as 2003) all summer.
We all recall that ‘13 had not been going well—not after the Vance Worley Opening Day, almost being no-hit by the Mets, this starting rotation, and the breakup of the M&M Boys. It didn’t get any better—a 5-24 record after calendars flipped to September and an overall 66-96 mark (still three games better than the White Sox!).
A few names you may remember (or want to forget)...
- Pedro Florimon: As slick-fielding as they come at shortstop—but it doesn’t matter if you are the reincarnation of Ozzie Smith when posting these offensive (both meanings of that word applicable in this case) numbers: 446 PA, .221 BA, .281 OBP, .330 SLG, 68 OPS+.
- Oswaldo Arcia: Fourteen home runs in 378 PA gave some hope for middle-of-the-order potential—but the 117 strikeouts were a damper. Must have been rooming with Miguel Sano.
- Clete Thomas: More memorable for his Garth Brooks “Friends in Low Places” walkup music than his 322 PA, .214 BA, & 65 OPS+.
- Josmil Pinto: The ultimate in small sample size. A .342 BA & .963 OPS in 83 PA—but only garnered 286 career PA and was out of baseball after 2016.
- Doug Bernier: What could possibly be memorable about a guy who came to the plate just 33 times and posted a .622 OPS? Well, the fact that he batted second four times simply because I assume Ron Gardenhire mistook him for Nick Punto.
- Samuel Deduno: The 8-8 record and 3.83 ERA in 18 GS seemed to portend possibilities—but not alongside Wild Thing Vaughn control (1.35 WHIP).
- Andrew Albers: This is the type of thing that can really only happen in baseball. Albers made his major league debut on 8/6/13 and pitched 8.1 scoreless, 4 H innings. The encore: a complete game 2-hit shutout—Andrew Albers staff ace! His next 8 starts: pounded in all but one. Baseball Reference shows him as pitching for the 2021 Minnesota Twins, which is something I almost refuse to believe actually happened.
Though this week’s baseball has indeed been “meaningless” in the technical sense, it can’t hold a candle to the suffocating lack of excitement as 2013 wound down. But as the saying goes—”it takes a few 90-loss seasons to appreciate the good ones”. Let’s hope such logic rings true a decade later.