Porterville Recorder - - SPORTS -

The Twins went 8577 this sea­son and cap­tured their first play­off spot since 2010 be­fore los­ing to the Yan­kees in the AL wild-card game. Last year, the Twins led the ma­jors with 103 losses.

Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer and their Min­ne­sota team­mates were in the midst of a 5-13 slide when the Twins traded closer Bran­don Kint­zler to Wash­ing­ton for a mi­nor lea­guer less than a month af­ter he made the All-star team. They also dealt away Jaime Gar­cia af­ter he won his only start since they got him from At­lanta.

“A lit­tle bit of a wrin­kle,” Moli­tor said.

Moli­tor’s mes­sage to the Twins at that point was “not mag­i­cal,” he said. In­stead, it was fairly sim­ple and straight­for­ward: Be­lieve in your­selves.

“I still had a lot of op­ti­mism,” he said.

The 61-year-old Moli­tor was born and raised in St. Paul, Min­ne­sota, and got the last of his 3,319 ca­reer hits with the Twins in 1998.

Shortly af­ter the play­off loss, Moli­tor got a new three-year con­tract to con­tinue man­ag­ing the Twins.

The 52-year-old Lovullo guided the Di­a­mond­backs to a 93-69 record and their first play­off spot since 2011, a year af­ter they went 69-93.

Lovullo was Bos­ton’s bench coach when he ran the Red Sox for 48 games in 2015 while man­ager John Far­rell un­der­went can­cer treat­ment.

Pow­ered by Paul Gold­schmidt, Jake Lamb and Martinez, and led by pitch­ers Zack Greinke and Rob­bie Ray, the Di­a­mond­backs made the play­offs this year. They beat Colorado in the NL wild-card game be­fore get­ting swept by the Dodgers in the Di­vi­sion Se­ries.

The Di­a­mond­backs were swept in a three­game se­ries at Min­ne­sota in mid-au­gust, outscored 27-8 at Tar­get Field. Less than a week later, Ari­zona be­gan a fran­chise-record 13game win­ning streak.

Go­ing into a new sea­son, Lovullo’s team has a new tar­get.

“It didn’t end the way we wanted. The Dodgers walked through us,” he said.

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