The Minnesota Twins are undeniably in the American League Central race. Also in the race are the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. They just so happen to be in first and second place respectably. They also just so happen to be visiting Minnesota for back to back four games series at Target Field. The Indians series got off to a horrible start with losses in both games on Monday. The team put it behind them though and got the job done on Tuesday and Wednesday. Overall a split with The Tribe. No ground gained, but none lost either.
Time for the Tigers. Once again a series were a win mean an entire game gained against teams ahead of the Twins in the standings. The lone positive from Fridays night was the return of Jason Kubel, who’s bat has been sorely missed during his 46 game absence. Brian Duensing was no match for Tiger’s ace Justin Verlander, although good luck finding more than a handful of pitchers in the major leagues who are at this point. Light’s out.
It all leads to today’s game. Scott Baker vs. Brad Penny. 11 losses in a row against Detroit, that’s correct the Twins have not beaten the Tigers in 2011. Apparently the Tiger’s take the Twins serious, perhaps this seriousness has something to do with the number 163. The Tigers made some mistakes in the field and the Twins were able to get out in front and ride this one out. Delmon Young had a two run double in the bottom of four that gave the Twins the cushion they needed to end the jinx of 2011 the Tigers had hexed them with. While the Tigers play in the field improved by turning several double plays to end Twins threats the Tigers only managed a single run and the Twins win 4 to 1. Tsuyoshi Nishioka helps out with a nifty play of his own with a nice catch in shallow left field. Scott Baker picks up his 8th win and Joe Nathan earns save number 7 to put him only a save behind current Minnesota Twins all time saves leader Rick Aguilera’s 254.
The Twins are currently 6 games behind the Tigers with both the Indians and the White Sox ahead of them as well. It’s going to take more than splits to gain ground, but when teams are tough sometimes you have to be happy with having the chance to fight again another day. It would be nice if the Twins could go gain some wins against some less formidable foes but once the Tigers series wraps up tomorrow afternoon it will be time to head south to Texas for four in a row against last years World Series contenders the Texas Rangers. Important games indeed.