The Minnesota Twins Actually Do Have a Pulse

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Minnesota Twins Designated Hitter Jim Thome

Minnesota sports fans only had the Twins on the horizon this spring. The Vikings had a horrible NFL draft again; the Timberwolves are on the verge of contraction, and the Wild missed the playoffs. The Twins rewarded this total attention with a start that had them buried twenty games under .500.

Fans were shocked when they opened the Star Tribune or the Pioneer Press in the morning to find that their team was miserably in last place while the Indians and Royals were on the other end of the AL Central. Now, the public can breathe a sigh of relief with the recent play of the club.

Designated hitter Jim Thome and catcher Joe Mauer are toiling away in obscure places on rehabilitation assignments. Justin Morneau hasn’t been himself in almost a year and numerous other places aren’t performing to expectations. With all that said, the future does look brighter for the club. Ben Revere is proving to be a competent addition to the team in the outfield. The squad is set to take on their intra-divisional rival, the Chicago White Sox this week. Both teams are on the upswing lately and the rumors of Ozzie Guillen’s demise have calmed with the wins. Victories all of a sudden prove that he knows what he’s doing again.

Starting pitchers Francisco Liriano and Brian Duensing have not provided the kind of consistency that is needed in the rotation this season. The former either seems to be unhittable or he gets shellacked, with no in between. The latter has an earned run average that is near five. Put together, the two performances are a recipe for disaster when it is coupled with the team’s inability to score runs on a regular basis.

There is plenty of blame to go around, but it is clear that the team is not going to have a chance in many high scoring games with the likes of the Boston Red Sox or the Texas Rangers. Relievers Matt Capps and Joe Nathan have eleven saves combined, approaching the halfway mark of the season. The team is fortunate to have the Padres and the Giants on the interleague horizon. It may provide a brief respite from the powerful line-ups that are on the agenda at the end of the month.

They are still nine games out of first place in the division despite the recent hot streak. Playing .400 baseball is not acceptable for an entire season so the remainder must be an improvement. If the club doesn’t start approaching the other leaders quickly, subscriptions to the Golf Channel are going to increase exponentially in the twin cities. Bert Blyleven does provide quality analysis on the broadcasts, but the product on the field has been seriously lacking this season. The public can’t even countdown to six hundred home runs lately for Jim Thome because he hasn’t been in the batting order. When he does return, his frame will bring back memories of the late great Harmon Killebrew. The milestone could provide some temporary solace.

–Patrick Herbert

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