Different year, same results.
Two disappointing campaigns come to a close Wednesday night when the Toronto Blue Jays host the Minnesota Twins in the season finale for both teams.
The Blue Jays (72-89) will be looking for a sweep and to end the year on a positive note following a disappointing second-half swoon that assures them of their worst record since 2004, when they went 67-94. Toronto will finish fourth in the AL East for the fifth consecutive season.
The Blue Jays were over .500 as late as the end of July but a difficult closing slate, including 19 games in September against New York, Baltimore and Tampa Bay, caused them to drop. They are 21-40 since July 29.
Toronto did beat the Twins (66-95) for a second straight night Tuesday, as Chad Jenkins earned his first major league victory and Kelly Johnson had a two-run homer in a 4-3 win.
It was the Twins' fourth straight loss, and Joe Mauer likely won't thwart Detroit star Miguel Cabrera's attempt to win the Triple Crown. He went hitless Tuesday and is 1 for 8 in the series. Mauer's .320 batting average is now third in the AL behind Cabrera (.331) and the Angels' Mike Trout.
"Unless (Mauer) goes 9 for 9 tomorrow, he might not be able to catch (Cabrera)," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Minnesota will finish with back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 2000, when it wrapped up a string of eight straight losing records. And just like last year, the Twins will finish with the worst record in the AL, a far cry from the team that won the Central in 2009 and 2010 to conclude a stretch of six division titles in nine years.
Ontario native Scott Diamond (12-8, 3.54 ERA) looks to close out a very nice first full season in the majors with his first start in Canada. After making seven starts at the end of last year, the left-hander has performed solidly for a Twins team that has the second-worst ERA in the AL. He leads the team in wins and innings pitched, and with a good outing Wednesday, could move into the top 10 in the AL in ERA.
Diamond, the only Twin with more than six wins, allowed five hits in seven scoreless innings of a 4-3 victory over Toronto on May 13.
Brandon Morrow (9-7, 3.09) will try to get to double-digit wins for the third straight season when he takes the mound for the Blue Jays. The right-hander has lowered his ERA by more than a run this season and has a career-high three complete games. However, he's made only 20 starts due to a stint on the 60-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique.
Since returning to action in late August, Morrow has gone 2-3 with a 3.23 ERA in seven starts. He beat the Yankees on Thursday, allowing four hits in seven innings of a 6-0 victory. Morrow is 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA and two saves in seven career appearances against the Twins, last facing them in 2011.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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