Carlos Correa’s clutch performance for the Twins in the postseason prompts memories of the late Kirby Puckett. It was Puckett who made that still famous quote before Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, telling teammates to “jump on his back” because he was going to carry the team.
Correa is more than shouldering his load, too, including driving in three of Minnesota’s six runs Sunday night when the Twins tied their American League Division Series at 1-1 with the Astros. Fittingly, Correa even threw out the last Astros batter of the evening with a spectacular fielding play and throw in the 6-2 win.
In four postseason games this fall Correa is hitting .588, and it’s not just his performance at the plate that has been key for the Twins. His fielding, high baseball IQ and leadership have all been impactful. Before coming to Minnesota, the 29-year-old shortstop experienced six postseason years with the Astros.
Do-Hyoung Park, writing for MLB.com yesterday, offered this timely quote about Correa from manager Rocco Baldelli: “We’ve always heard all of the sayings and things: When the lights come on and the bright lights, there are some guys, they’re giants in the light. He’s one of them. That’s what he is.”
Correa, who joined the Twins in 2022 as a free agent and then re-signed with them last off-season, made history Sunday night with those three RBI. He now has 63 career postseason RBI, tied with David Justice for third best ever among big leaguers.
No doubt the Twins’ $200 million “Mr. October” looks forward to moving up that historical list (Bernie Williams tops at 80, Manny Ramirez second with 78) but the big prize right now is advancing to the World Series. To do that the Twins will need two more wins to close out the Astros and be able to win four games in the American League Championship Series.
That itinerary would put the Twins back in the World Series for the first time since 1991. Minnesota defeated the Braves in seven games, partially because of Puckett’s heroics in Game 6. The five-tool superstar robbed Ron Gant of an extra base hit and had three hits including an 11th inning walk-off home run for the ages that won the game and tied the series 3-3 in front of a delirious Metrodome crowd.
Puckett was a centerpiece on World Series championship teams in 1991 and 1987. In 24 postseason games he hit .309, with five home runs and 16 RBI. He was also a leader who inspired teammates, just like a guy in the here and now—Carlos Correa.
Twins Hall of Famers Johan Santana and Joe Mauer will do the ceremonial first pitch honors before this afternoon’s ALDS game at Target Field. Minneapolis-based vocalist Aby Wolf will perform the national anthem.
Today’s Minnesota starting pitcher Sonny Gray, who held the Blue Jays scoreless in last week’s Wild Card series win, faces the Astros for the third time this year. He is 0-0 and has a 2.77 ERA against the Astros, with four walks and 16 strikeouts in two starts.
Ryan Jeffers has been the Twins’ catcher in each of the four postseason games, after splitting assignments during the regular season with Christian Vazquez. Jeffers has excelled defensively and calling games for the 3-1 Twins but has just two hits in 13 at bats.
Knowledgeable and optimistic Twins fans know the World Series starts October 27 and potentially runs through November 4. Home field advantage in the best of seven series, just like in the ALDS and ALDCS, is determined by which two teams had the better regular season record.
Twins radio voice Cory Provus, who calls Big Ten Network football games, will also work BTN men’s basketball during the upcoming season.
By Friday, after the Wild’s home opener against the Panthers Thursday night, it’s anticipated that over a nine-day period about 300,000 fans in the Twin Cities will have attended games of the Twins, Vikings, Wild and football Gophers.
The Wild has only two players on its 21-man opening night roster that weren’t with Minnesota last year: forwards Pat Maroon (Tampa Bay) and Marco Rossi (Iowa). Defenseman Brock Faber is the youngest player on the roster at 21; while goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who turns 39 in November, is the oldest.
Hockey authority Bill Robertson predicts the Wild will finish seventh in the Western Conference and make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. “Healthy (Kirill) Kaprizov and solid goaltending will be big keys for the Wild this year,” the former college hockey commissioner wrote via email. “Former Gopher Brock Faber will take a huge step forward and become an impact player for Minnesota.
“Boston is the best team in the NHL as they have depth from top to bottom and will be ready this year for the Stanley Cup Playoffs! No quick exit this year. Best player in the game is Edmonton’ s Conner McDavid as he is a superstar and can impact a game when he is on the ice. Conner has awesome skills.”
The Wild announced today that Kaprizov has been named an alternate captain.
Jim Harbaugh, who was a candidate for the Vikings head coaching job before Kevin O’Connell was hired in 2022, has the No. 2 college football team in the AP Poll but doesn’t make the top 10 in annual compensation among his peers. His $8.2 million at Michigan ranks No. 12, with Alabama’s Nick Saban No. 1 at $11.4 million and Michigan State’s embattled Mel Tucker No. 5 at about $10 million, per Usatoday.com last week.
Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck ranks No. 26 at $6 million.
The 1-4 Vikings and 3-3 Gophers are struggling but other state teams are excelling including St. Thomas, 3-0 in conference games and leading the Pioneer League, and Saint John’s, No. 8 nationally in the D3football.com rankings and tied with Carleton for the best league record in the MIAC at 3-0 each.
Happy birthdays: NFL legend Brett Favre is 54 today, October 10. Former Gopher athletics director Mark Dienhart turns 70 tomorrow.
Forward Parker Bjorklund from St. Thomas has been voted preseason first team All-Summit by the league coaches. The voting also predicted the Tommies will finish fourth in the standings behind South Dakota State, Oral Roberts and North Dakota State.Comments Welcome