The 2004 Minnesota Twins met their goal of three-peating as American League Central Division champions. The team was able to do this in spite of several new players and the absence of three former all-stars. Closer Eddie Guardado, set-up man LaTroy Hawkins, starter Eric Milton, and catcher A. J. Pierzynski had all been dealt prior to the beginning of the season, while first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz was traded midway through the season. The season had both highs – such as Johan Santana winning the Cy Young Award – and lows, such as highly anticipated rookie catcher Joe Mauer injuring his knee and playing for only 35 games. For the second year in a row, the team was not able to carry its regular season success into the post-season. The New York Yankees eliminated the Twins for the second year in a row in four games in the 2004 American League Division Series.
|2004 Minnesota Twins|
|American league Central Champions|
|Major League affiliations|
|General manager(s)||Terry Ryan|
(Bert Blyleven, Dick Bremer)
|Local radio||830 WCCO AM |
(Herb Carneal, John Gordon, Dan Gladden, Jack Morris)
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The Twins posted a 20–10 record in spring training, the best of any major league team in 2004. This includes split-squad games but not ties or exhibition games.
For a playoff team, the offense was not strong. This was partly due to injuries and starters absent from the lineup. Lew Ford surprised many by batting .299 in his first full year in the major leagues. Free agent acquisition José Offerman saw a majority of time in the designated hitter spot, but hit only .256 with two home runs. Shannon Stewart did hit .304, but injuries limited him to 378 at bats. In 107 at bats, Mauer was able to hit .307. In his absence, catcher Henry Blanco hit only .206. First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz's hitting continued to decline, as he hit .246 with five home runs before being dealt to the Boston Red Sox.
Nine players hit ten or more home runs. When the Twins hit their record 225 homers in 1963, only eight players reached double figures.
Brad Radke was the opening day starter, but he was soon overshadowed by Johan Santana's Cy Young year. Radke, Santana, and Carlos Silva anchored the starting rotation. Unfortunately, Kyle Lohse had a bad year that saw his ERA balloon to 5.34, while the fifth spot in the rotation was nebulous. (41-year-old Terry Mulholland made 15 starts, while Seth Greisinger made nine.)
The Twins set their club record of 32 consecutive scoreless innings in June, which included back-to-back-to-back shutouts by Radke, Santana and Lohse.
In the bullpen, Joe Nathan blew everyone away during his first year as a closer at any level, earning 44 saves with a 1.62 ERA. Juan Rincón and J. C. Romero continued playing as excellent set-up men, while the rest of the bullpen was weaker. Romero set a Twins record by going 36 innings over 32 appearances without allowing a run to score.
Blanco and Mauer (when he played) were solid catchers, both with .991 fielding percentages. Mientkiewicz was a one-time Gold Glove winner, but his successor Justin Morneau surprised people with his .995 fielding percentage. Luis Rivas was dependable at second base, while Cristian Guzmán could turn exceptional plays at shortstop. (It was the routine ones that fooled him.) Corey Koskie was defensively average, while the outfield quartet of Hunter, Jacque Jones, Shannon Stewart and Ford were solid – especially Hunter, who won a Gold Glove.
|Chicago White Sox||83||79||0.512||9||46–35||37–44|
|Kansas City Royals||58||104||0.358||34||33–47||25–57|
2004 American League Records
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|2004 Minnesota Twins|
The Twins entered and exited the postseason almost exactly the same as the previous season, losing to the Yankees, 3 games to 1. The Yankees would go on to be upset by the Boston Red Sox on their way to breaking the curse.
Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
|AAA||Rochester Red Wings||International League||Phil Roof|
|AA||New Britain Rock Cats||Eastern League||Stan Cliburn|
|A||Fort Myers Miracle||Florida State League||Jose Marzan|
|A||Quad Cities River Bandits||Midwest League||Kevin Boles|
|Rookie||Elizabethton Twins||Appalachian League||Ray Smith|
|Rookie||GCL Twins||Gulf Coast League||Riccardo Ingram|
2004 MLB season by team
|Culture and lore|
|Division titles (10)|
|Wild Card titles (1)|
|Minor league affiliates|