Here we are over halfway through June and the Minnesota Twins are still in last place in the American League Central. But they are not playing like a last place team; with a 13 – 3 record so far this month you could argue they are the hottest team in baseball. In the midst of a six game winning streak at the moment they are mere percentage points behind the Kansas City Royals, who’s .500 ball won’t be enough to keep the Twins from blowing by them in the standings. Whatever lit the fire under this ball club was extremely flammable and has them showing improvement in all aspects of their game from the mound to the plate.Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano and Brian Duensing are all giving much more quality starts resulting in less but more effective innings from the bullpen including several saves and a win from Matt Capps. The importance of pitching to Twins teams cannot be understated. While the Twins bats can put runs on the board often times they only manage a couple especially against some of the better pitchers around the league. This has to be countered by just as good if not better starts by the Twins staff, something they have been doing lately and the results are being tallied up in the win column.
While losing Justin Morneau is a tough blow the return of Joe Mauer and the revival of Alexi Casilla’s previously lifeless bat has the Twins providing more runs. While Danny Valencia’s batting average is still in the danger zone he has delivered some key hits and could turn it around big time second half of the season. Tsuyoshi Nishioka would be a good bet to break out second half of the season as well as he returns from his injury and learns the American game. Delmon Young is heating up and needs to continue having success at the plate for the Twins to continue their turnaround. Overall the bats could still use a boost, especially in the long ball department. It would be nice to see Jim Thome return from the DL and continue racking up the home runs, especially those deep blasts to right at Target Field.
The Minnesota Twins play the San Diego Padres today at 2:10p Eastern in Minneapolis. Liriano takes the mound for the Twins, Dustin Moseley for the Padres.