Minnesota Twins shocking the world

The Minnesota Twins were supposed to finish last in the American League Central by a comfortable margin. Minnesota, under first-year manager and Hall of Fame player Paul Molitor, was the ultimate rebuilding project. If the team lost 90 to 100 games, there weren’t going to be too many surprised folks.

Yet, coming into June, the Twins are rolling. Minnesota has the best record this month in the Major League and currently is tied for the AL Central lead with the Kansas City Royals at 28-18. Whether or not this play holds up is to be see, but there is no discounting that the Twins are playing excellent baseball almost 50 games into the campaign.

The offense was supposed to be terrible, led by Joe Mauer’s decline and Torii Hunter getting old in a hurry. Instead, the Twins have scored 212 runs entering Thursday’s games, good enough for sixth in the American League. Only the Toronto Blue Jays with 255 runs are more than five runs better.

So who is making this surprise a reality? Offensively, the surge has been paced by Hunter, who is leading the team with a .280 average along with seven home runs, eight double and 29 RBI. The 39-year-old continues to produce hitting .341 in May. While Mauer only has a single homer, he has also produced with 27 RBI and a .276 clip. The there is All-Star second baseman Brian Dozier, who leads the Twins with nine home runs.

On the mound, Minnesota is less impressive but getting the job done. Ricky Nolasco has a team-high five wins although that is bound to regress due to his hideous 5.12 earned run average. Kyle Gibson and Mike Pelfrey have been the stars of the staff, pitching to a 2.72 and 2.77 ERA, respectively. Of their combined 18 starts, 11 have registered as quality starts. Overall, the duo has been able to buoy a rotation expected to be one of the league’s worst.

At the end of the game, Minnesota has a huge advantage with closer Glen Perkins. Perkins has been invaluable to the squad, picking up a league-leading 18 saves while posting a miniscule 1.19 ERA. Perkins is yet to blow a save, giving Molitor the hammer he needs in the ninth inning.

Ultimately, it would still be a shock if the Twins can reach the postseason. Baseball rewards being the best team over a long marathon, not a quick sprint. Yet, Minnesota should be recognized and noted for its strong start. Vegas Insider currently has the Twins at 60/1 to win the World Series, showing the lack of confidence in these underdogs. For comparison, the awful Oakland Athletics are at 65/1.

It will be fun to see if the Twins can prove all the doubters wrong in front of an increasingly excited crowd at Target Field.

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