Watching the Twins devolve from perennial playoff participants to division doormats over the past two seasons has been depressing. If you look hard enough however, you will find a few positives amongst the carnage. The most obvious being the Target Field; can you imagine the Twins attendance if they were still playing their home games at the Metrodome?
On the field, the emergence of Glen Perkins has been one of the most uplifting developments. In 2012, the Stillwater native has or is on pace to achieve career bests in appearances, innings, ERA, WHIP, batting average against, strikeouts and saves, topping even his stellar 2011 campaign. The 29-year-old lefthander is the odds-on favorite to be the team’s closer in 2013.
I caught up with Perkins during last weekend’s White Sox series and discussed a variety of topics.
DZ: The season is winding down now, how would you assess the season from a personal standpoint - your own performance?
PERKINS: Personally it was a success, but that’s not - it is my goal, but it’s not - we were not a good team last year and we are doing the same thing this year. There was a lot of hope coming into the season, but things haven’t worked out. It’s hard to be happy with personal success when we’ve struggled the way we have.
DZ: Coming into the season, how much more confident were you than you were (last year)?
PERKINS: It’s easier coming in - last year I was lucky just to make the team I think. I had a good year, so coming in this year, obviously there is confidence - there is preparation for a season rather than trying to make a team and stuff like that. It makes it easier going into the year, but at the same time, there is more pressure to back it up because they are expecting more out of you.
DZ: You’ve gotten a lot more save chances this year with Capps being down, is that something you are getting used to; a role you would like to do long term?
PERKINS: Yeah, when I signed my contract this spring - not to say that’s why I signed it - but…that factored into it. To hopefully, at some point, have that opportunity is something that I want to do. It’s worked out so far and we’ll see what happens going into next year.
DZ: You and Jared Burton have become a pretty good combo down in the bullpen. Could you just talk about him, the kind of year he’s had and how you’ve gotten to know him?
PERKINS: It’s been great. We talked last year about having some guys stick in the bullpen and a couple of guys did and then the same thing again this year that we needed some guys to stick. He’s a guy who has had success in the big leagues, his thing was just staying healthy. He’s been able to do that this year. He’s a good guy to have down there, he’s a good compliment (to me)…with being lefty and righty and that. It think it helps that the coaches know that we both can get lefties and righties out, so the match-ups aren’t as important. (We are) able to split it and save each other a little bit. It’s been good to have him down there, I think he’s everything we could have hoped for when they brought him in.
DZ: Last year you talked a lot about how Joe Nathan had helped you transition to the bullpen; how much have you kept in touch with him this year?
PERKINS: A good amount really. He’s obviously I guy that I knew for a long time then last year I really had an opportunity to work with him and kind of get some things out of him. When we played (Texas) - we played them three times this year - so I got to spend a lot of time with him there and then here and then on the phone and that. He’s one of the reasons why I am where I am. I am thankful for the friendship we have and glad he’s having success because he struggled last year coming back from Tommy John. He’s had a great year this year and he’s done everything this year that I’d hoped he do.
DZ: Did you see that clip of him in the (Tony) Romo Cowboys uniform the other day?
PERKINS: Yeah, I’ve got a picture of it on my phone.
DZ: He actually looked pretty good.
PERKINS: (Laughs) He’s got an NFL body that’s for sure. That was pretty funny though, he’s a die hard Giants fan. I usually get on him pretty good when the Vikings play them and anytime they lose really, I make sure I needle him about the Giants. It was funny to see, he sent me a picture of it the other day, it was pretty funny.
DZ: Do you guys play fantasy football on the team here, do you have any leagues?
PERKINS: We’ve a got the Bobby Dorry Fantasy League that’s been going for 15, 20 years now I think. This is the first year I am by myself, I was with (Kevin) Slowey for two years and with Nathan for a year, so I am flying solo this year. I didn’t start Adrian Peterson last week, so I am 0-1, but I think I’ve got a pretty good team.
DZ: Who are your main players?
PERKINS: I’ve got Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Hernandez at tight end. I’ve got (David) Akers as my kicker. I started Randall Cobb this week which wasn’t great. I picked up Kyle Rudolph, I like to have Vikings to keep me interested in it. I’ve got Ahmad Bradshaw - I’ve got an all right team. I played (Brian) Duensing last week and I lost. I would’ve beat him pretty good if I would’ve started Adrian. Our rosters locked on Wednesday with that Wednesday (Cowboys/Giants) game. I couldn’t change him on Sunday. He’s in there this week, so hopefully he’ll have another good week.
See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:
August 20: Jamey Carroll
August 14: Scott Diamond
August 11: Darin Mastroianni
June 24: Ben Revere
June 19: Ryan Doumit
June 16: Brian Duensing
June 2: Brian Dozier
May 26: Josh Willingham
May 17: Denard Span
May 1: Jared Burton
April 28: Alex Burnett
April 21: Chris Parmelee
April 17: Sean Burroughs
April 13: Jeff Gray