by Dante Miles | Sep 29, 2022 | THE LEAD OFF
Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton are two of the biggest names in baseball, and with that type of fame comes great expectations. Unfortunately for both superstar MLBbros, this season failed to meet lofty expectations for one reason or another.
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Both clubs will miss the playoffs this year, but how does that happen?
Now of course the White Sox were the favorites entering the season, but after the Twins hot start turned into a hot couple of months there were some around baseball who thought Buxton and Co. could shock everyone and win the AL Central. First, let’s take a look at what went wrong in the Twin Cities.
Injury Bug Bites Buxton, Again
Buxton’s injury history has been well documented, especially here on MLBbro.com. It looked like we were finally about to get a full season of production out of Byron. He was hitting bombs and playing a Gold Glove caliber defense in center, and most importantly the Twins had jumped out to an early lead in the division.
That was until Buxton’s annual trip(s) to the injured list began yet again. Byron spent over a month on the shelf with a hip strain, and without their superstar, the chinks in Minnesota’s armor was quickly revealed. The Twins would slowly lose their grip on the division, and his return to the lineup was short-lived. After attempting to play through the pain of a sore knee, the first thing to send him to IR this season, Byron chose to undergo season ending knee surgery on Tuesday.
Buxton only played in 92 games this season, bringing his grand total of seasons with less than 100 games played to seven. That’s alarming when you consider the fact that he’s been in the league eight seasons and Minnesota opened the bank book for him with a $100M contract, expecting his injury woes to be behind him. Despite losing another season to injury, Byron seems optimistic about his season being done.
White Sox Stumbled and Never Recovered
Now injuries may have cut Tim Anderson’s season short as well, but the Chicago White Sox were mediocre at best even with TA in the lineup. They struggled to get to .500 on the season, and even when they did reach the mark they didn’t elevate much further. As it stands, the White Sox will most likely finish nearly 20 games under their projected 98 game win total.
Anderson, much like Buxton in Minny, played well to start the season despite his teams struggles. He was still arguably the best leadoff hitter in the game, although his power numbers began to plummet. Now that we know torn ligaments in his hand were the cause of his season ending surgery, there should be some optimism around his power returning.
Even if his power returns, chances are high that the White Sox will look like a completely different ball club. Their owner Jerry Reinsdorf is known for only wanting to win on his terms, and those terms never involve paying a high premium for mediocre results. Look for the Sox to make some changes this year, from the Hall of Fame manager on down.
Although free agency is a few years away for Anderson, Sox fans should begin to wonder if Reinsdorf will even pay to keep him in Chicago. The White Sox have never given out a contract valued over $100 million in team history, and with his cache in the game today it’s safe to say that won’t be enough to keep TA7 in Chicago.
by Ronald Agers | Sep 14, 2022 | THE THREE SPOT
At the beginning of the season, MLBbro.com did a report covering the rising tensions concerning the Minnesota Twins and its fan base over the structured playing time of Byron Buxton.
While the fans were shortsighted over wanting to see one of the more dynamic superstars in Major League Baseball, the franchise’s big picture was to ensure that their superstar was healthy and somewhat fresh for a postseason run.
Our MLBbro didn’t make things easy by starting the season on a serious roll on the diamond. And he remained relatively healthy at first.
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To recap the situation from earlier this season, the medical staff set up a schedule requiring him to take mandatory days off for rest and therapy for his knee. That included keeping him out of the designated hitter spot in the lineup. Considering the list of injuries that Buxton has suffered over the last couple of seasons (left thumb, both wrists, left big toe, left shoulder, right hip, migraines and a concussion), the Twins were committed to sticking to the plan.
The fans were concerned with the bottom line; when Byron Buxton is on the field, the Twins win games. When he is out of the lineup, Minnesota is a below .500 team with no star power to strike fear in opponents outside of Carlos Correa. In short, Byron Buxton is the best player on the field and when he’s present the Twins are an elevated bunch.
Even though the franchise made some strides with their season long plan with Buxton, who made his first All-Star squad and played the most games since 2017 (92), the right knee tendinitis was still a problem. The bottom started falling out last month when his knee forced him to the DH position in ten of the 14 games he played in August. Then on August 23rd, the Twins placed him on the 10-day injured list with a right hip strain.
Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli described the injury as serious and said caution would be taken going forward, via MLB.com.
“He had a few things go on (Monday where you could tell he was really feeling it,” Baldelli told MLB.com after Monday’s game. “Over the last few days, he’s been in a spot where he’s been on the verge of not being able to go out there, not being able to swing or run. But he’s continued to post up and continued to go out there and play at not a high percentage of what he can normally do physically.”
Right now the Twins need the MLBbro in any capacity. The Twins have fallen from the top of the AL Central standings to third place. With their current record of 69-70, Minnesota finds itself on the outside looking in for the third and final wild card spot.
For the Twins to be able to enjoy baseball in September into October, they need Buxton “Bro Bombing“ much like he was in June.
Even though Buxton hasn’t been cleared to ramp up baseball activities, Baldelli according to Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic is holding out hope that he will return at the end of the season.
With reports that Buxton’s absence from the lineup will extend through the weekend to possibly next week, it is clear that the franchise is being extremely cautious with their best player. Everyone involved is hoping that this is not similar to the hip strain that kept him out for most of the 2021 season.
In any event, the season is slipping away along with the Twins’ playoff hopes. No matter when our MLBbro returns, if the Twins miss the playoffs, the early tension that started between the team and the fans over Buxton’s playing time and injuries will possibly rage in the offseason.
by Kevin Moore | Sep 7, 2022 | THE THREE SPOT
The Minnesota Twins are in a battle in the AL Central. This team has a strong chance to make the postseason and it could potentially come down to the final game of the regular season.
Right now, the team is without All-Star outfielder Byron Buxton.
Buxton, an important piece to this team, has not played since August 22 as he suffered a strained right hip which put him on the injured list.
This was the first time this season that the centerfielder landed on the IL and it could not have come at a worse time. Despite his absence on the field, Buxton continues to show his leadership qualities while he’s away from the game. It’s not easy being unable to play and help your team succeed, especially in a situation like this, with the postseason on the line.
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But Buxton continues to keep his composure and have a positive presence, because he knows his teammates are looking at him and he’s a leader on the team. He knows his energy is contagious throughout the clubhouse and he’s going to keep a positive mindset while he’s on the IL.
“It was something that just kind of stuck with me the last couple days, watching us play, and it didn’t look like we were smiling, being positive, having fun like we normally would,” Buxton said in an article from mlb.com. “So that’s something I feel like I can bring back, turn it around, even if I’m not playing.”
It’s important that Buxton gets back to full strength because the Twins can’t afford to lose him again at any point this season. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli believes that Buxton will be in a better position when he returns from the IL.
“He’s probably, hopefully, going to be in a better spot when he comes off the IL than where he’s been for about four and a half months,” he said. “He’s probably going to be feeling better. Do I know that? I don’t know that with certainty, but I’m hopeful of that, and I think it’s realistic.”
There’s no exact date on his return, but Buxton could potentially return to the lineup sometime this weekend or maybe before.
On the season, Buxton is hitting .224 with 28 home runs and 51 RBI. Buxton will need to return to the Twins lineup and help bring that spark that he’s provided throughout the season if they hope to slide into the playoffs.
by Malik Wright | Aug 18, 2022 | THE THREE SPOT
Byron Buxton is on pace to play in his most games since 2017 and has proven to be one of the best in the Majors when he stays healthy.
Whether it be with his glove or bat Byron Buxton is a showstopper, the only question was whether or not he could stay healthy enough to be in the lineup. Tuesday night Buxton started his 88th game of the season which makes it the most he has played in since 2017. Between then and now, some of the injuries he has dealt with include his shoulder, wrist, foot as well as multiple concussions.
Even this season he has had a few different stints on the Injured List, including just a few weeks ago when he returned from the All-Star Break and was placed there after having some issues with his shoulders.
Since returning from that shoulder injury, Buxton has gotten hot at the right time as his Twins are in a fight for the American League Central pennant.
He is batting .291 with a .371 on base percentage, five home runs and eight RBI and three stolen bases since then.
Entering Tuesday, the Twins are just a game back of the Guardians for the top spot in their division, which makes every game from now until October crucial to each team’s playoff hopes.
Buxton came to play over the weekend, however his team lost two of three games.
Saturday night they were tied with the Angels at three runs a piece in the bottom of the 10th inning with runners on first and third.
Buxton ran in on a fly ball and made a diving catch before firing a strike to first base to double off Shohei Ohtani to end the inning.
The Twins would end up losing the game, but that play added yet another highlight to one of the most stacked fielding resumes for any player in recent history.
The next day he hit his 28th homer of the season which is good for the third most in the American League trailing only Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez. Buxton has hit a home run in 10 consecutive road series and has hit 55 home runs since he last grounded into a double play. That is the most home runs ever between double plays in Major League history. In his last three games Buxton has a home run and is batting .462 with two hits in each game.
This weekend Buxton welcomes in Marcus Semien and the Texas Rangers to the Twin City for a three-game set.
by Kevin Moore | Jul 22, 2022 | THE THREE SPOT
Byron Buxton made a huge impact for the American League in his first All-Star Game.
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning, Buxton stepped up to the plate and delivered a memorable hit. He smashed a fastball off Tony Gonsolin to left field to give the AL a 3-2 lead and that was all the team needed.
The AL went on to win 3-2. Buxton was one of the heroes in his All-Star debut. That’s how you make an impression in your first All-Star Game. It’s been an up and down season for Buxton as he got off to a slow start.
Going into All-Star break, Buxton hit .216 with 43 RBI and 23 home runs. While his average has been low, he’s shown the power he possesses at the plate. You got to see that on Tuesday.
Before leaving for All-Star break, Buxton talked about how important it is for him to stay healthy.
“I know what I’m capable of doing. Just staying on the field is the biggest situation,” he said in an article from USA Today.
It’s going to be really important for Buxton to remain healthy during the second half of the season. Rocco Baldelli, manager of the Twins, knows that Buxton wants to do his best to be an everyday player for his team.
“It’s been a strenuous, truly 24-hour-a-day job for him to take the field each day,” he said. “He’s not looking for any breaks right now. He’s trying to take the field.”
“Buck’s doing pretty well, but it’s still going to be something we’re going to have to pay attention to going forward,” Baldelli said. “If there’s 12 days, 14 days in a row? At this point, he’s going to play most of those games. I don’t think he’s playing all those days if there’s no days off built in.”
Going into the All-Star break, the Twins held a two-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians for first place in the AL Central Division.
It’s going to be a battle for the top of that division. For the Twins to be successful, Buxton will need to play in as many games as possible.
The Twins next game isn’t until Saturday against the Detroit Tigers, so Buxton and his teammates have a little bit of time to get some much-needed rest.
Buxton wants to go out there and help give his team a chance to win the pennant and he has the skillset to do just that.
“You just make sure you’re being smart and being the best person, you can be to give your best version that you can, day in and day out,” Buxton said. “Days are good, days are bad, but each and every day for me is a good opportunity to try and get a win for my teammates.”
Now that the All-Star Game is in the rear view, Buxton will be focused on getting the Twins to the postseason.