In the Right Direction
On June 1, the Twins lost 4-2 to the Tigers in Detroit. Following the game, manager Ron Gardenhire said that a decision would have to be made on Jason Kubel and Jim Thome and that at least one, if not both, would need to be put on the disabled list. A day later, both were put on the 15 day disabled list. Since that day almost three weeks ago, neither has returned. In fact, Denard Span and Justin Morneau have been added to the Disabled List since then. Thankfully, the Twins have added Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Joe Mauer to the lineup and Glen Perkins to the bullpen in recent days and hopefully they will all heat up soon.
(Following games played on June 1, 2011)
Cleveland††††††††††††† 33-20†††† --
Detroit††††††††††††††††††† 29-26†††† 5.0
Chicago W.S.††††††† 27-31†††† 8.5
Kansas City††††††††† 25-30†††† 9.0
Minnesota ††††††††††† 17-37†††† 16.5
(Following games played on June 19, 2011)
Cleveland††††††††††††† 39-31†††† --
Detroit††††††††††††††††††† 39-33†††† 1.0
Chicago W.S.††††††† 35-38†††† 5.5
Minnesota ††††††††††† 31-39†††† 8.0
Kansas City††††††††† 31-41†††† 9.0
Speaking of heating up, I think it is fair to say that the Twins have somehow done just that. When things couldnít have been any worse for the Twins, they have found a way to completely turn around the season. Well, that might be a bit much. They are still eight games below .500. However, they have been playing a different style of baseball. In fact, it is the style of baseball that we have come to expect from the Twins over the last decade. Finally, the starting pitching came on, and likely in part due to the improved starters, the bullpen has been much improved. Alexi Casilla and Michael Cuddyer have led the offensive attack while Ben Revere has been an incredible catalyst at the top of the order and making some incredible catches in center field. As important, they are getting contributions from most everyone. Danny Valencia hit two huge home runs over the weekend. Drew Butera had the game-winning single on Sunday. Rene Tosoni and Matt Tolbert had big late-inning doubles on Sunday.
The Twins will start getting more of their injured players back in the (hopefully) not too distant future. We assume that can only be a good thing. Thankfully this group has been able to turn things around so that the Twins have been patient with Denard Span and Jason Kubel and Jim Thome and others. But letís not fool ourselves either. Those big names like Mauer and Morneau, Kubel and Thome, they will be the key to the 2011 Twins season. They will need help from the rest of the players, but they will be the key.
If nothing else, we as Twins fans at least have a fun product to watch on TV for the next four months. For that, Iím thrilled!
Here are a few quick notes:
∑ I was joined by Elizabethton Twins RHP Todd Van Steensel and the North Dakota Twins Fan, Cody Christie, on last nightís SethSpeaks.net Sunday Night Twins Podcast. Van Steensel is an Australian, in his first year in the organization. You will want to bookmark his blog, The Clubhouse Chronicles.
∑ Tonight, Travis Aune and I will be co-hosting Twins Minor League Weekly. Weíll talk about all four full-season affiliates, but now we will also be discussion the Elizabethton Twins (whose season starts tomorrow), and the GCL Twins (who will play their first game today).
∑ Donít forget the auction for Rochester Red Wings game-used jerseys from their weekend series. They wore three unique jerseys and each will be auctioned. Click here for details.
Feel free to discuss the Twins weekend. Iíll be back later today with the Twins Minor League Weekend notes.