July 11, 2016

Hey, something’s brewing with the Twins, folks

After posting losing records in April, May and June, and falling so far behind in the AL Central that it appeared as if the Twins might set some records for futility, the team heads into the All-Star break looking like a completely different team. Suddenly, the Twins can hit, pitch and play defense, all of which was nowhere to be found at the beginning of the season.

Three weeks ago I was a nattering nabob of negativism, predicting the worst for the Twins before the break and expecting them to get swept in most of their upcoming games. Over one 12-game period, I had them falling to 24-61. Instead, at the break, they are 32-56. OK, so that’s not great, but they are 7-3 in their last 10 games, including a 5-2 mark against the Texas Rangers, the best team in the American League. And they not only beat the Rangers, but crushed them, getting victories of 17-5, 10-1 and 15-5 — all of which were on the road.

The 15-5 win came on Sunday. The Twins banged out 18 hits, including four home runs and a grand slam from Max Kepler. Every Twin in the starting lineup had a hit. With that much offense, Tommy Milone earned his second win, throwing 82 pitches over five innings before he stepped aside for the bullpen. Taylor Rogers pitched two scoreless innings before giving way to Neil Ramirez — and his performance might be a concern. Ramirez threw 51 pitches over two innings, giving up three runs, all earned, including a home run. He has an ERA of 6.00.

Still, let’s focus on the positives. This has been the best stretch of play from the Twins ALL SEASON. And I’m not going to say they will contend in the second half (wouldn’t that be incredible?), but perhaps they play .500 ball, or slightly better, and that win-loss record doesn’t look so lopsided.

They also turned three double plays on Sunday.

Play resumes Friday at Target Field when the Twins welcome the red-hot Cleveland Indians. The Twins, though, are 4-2 against the Tribe this season.

The Twins’ improved play hasn’t gone unnoticed:



Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.