Cleat Geeks

Double or Nothing with the Twins

The Twins started the season 1-6, then they won a remarkable 20 of 27 games in the month of May. Thus, on June 2nd they were 11 games over .500 and had climbed over both the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals to lead the American League central.

ErvinSantana

 

The Last Few Years

The Twins have been really bad for the last few years, and honestly, myself and most other people who make pre-season predictions saw nothing to make us think this year would be any different this year. To make my point on just how bad they have been, here are some numbers for you. In 2011 no starter on the Twins roster managed to get 10 wins. Then in 2012 and 2013 no pitcher on their 25 man roster had more than 109 strikeouts. And to give you just an idea of how awful that stat is, currently 3 different MLB pitchers already have more than 100 strikeouts this season. Plus, they had gone 4 years without a 200 inning starting pitcher until last year. They did address that in the off-season by signing Ervin Santana. But, hope quickly turned to disappointment when Santana was suspended 80 games for PED usage.

 

How are they Winning?

Joe Mauer in action at the Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago Cubs game, June 23, 2006.

First of all the Twins are hitting .303 with runners in scoring position led by the 2 most familiar names on their club. Joe Mauer is hitting .420 and Torri Hunter is hitting .356 with runners in scoring position. At the beginning of the week the Twins had scored 116 runs in innings 4-9, while they are scoring 109 runs in the first 3 innings. So the Twins are scoring early, taking the lead and then hanging on for the victory while hitting great in the clutch.

 

Can they sustain it?

If you are not from Minnesota, can you name a starter on the Twins staff? The Twins have a starting ERA of 4.03 and their bullpen ranks 17th out of the 30 teams. It does not take a mathematician to figure out that is below average. Hunter and Mauer will cool off and when that happens, neither their starters nor their bullpen are good enough to compensate for those losses. They will not sustain their current winning ways.

 

But can they Contend?

They are close. I believe they have just enough offence now that I have seen them play better than I thought they would this season. But, they need some pitching help. They are getting Santana back after his suspension, so if he is effective that would be like adding a front of the rotation starting pitcher. But, if they truly want to compete they need to trade for a bullpen arm or 2. Someone like Broxton from Milwaukee or Grilli from the Atlanta Braves or maybe even take a chance on Cishek from Miami. I still believe Cleveland will win the A.L. Central and Texas will win the A.L. West so that will leave Houston, Kansas City and Minnesota battling it out for the 2 Wild Card spots at seasons end. Which ever of those 3 teams make the best deadline moves will then be in the play-offs.

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