Thursday, June 9, 2011

Optimism and reality

The Twins have now won six of their last seven.

They still have the worst record in the majors, still sport the worst run differential in the majors, still have much of their payroll on the disabled list or obviously playing hurt. They're still 11.5 games out of first place, and 10 games behind one of the teams seen at the start of the season as a divisional contender.

They have a long way to go to realistically be back in the hunt.

More days like Wednesday -- when the Twins were the only AL Central team to win -- and I might start taking the notion seriously.

Phil Dumatrait has
pitched nine innings
with the Twins
with three hits,
six walks and two
A few more comments on the Cleveland series:

* Are the left-handed components of the Minnesota bulllpen really that reliable, or are the Indians are simply that vulnerable to lefties? My guess is the latter. The biggest bats in the Cleveland lineup are either left-handed (Grady Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo) or switch-hitters (Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana), and Ron Gardenhire leaned heavily on his southpaws. And they got outs.

Even Jose Mijares, who has had problems throwing strikes all season, was effective.

* Phil Dumatrait got the save with a scoreless 10th inning Wednesday, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00, but ... it's only nine innings, and the peripheral stats aren't that good.

* File this one under "about time": Gardenhire finally used Jason Repko as a defensive sub for Delmon Young.

* The Twins offense, productive against Kansas City in the sweep there and in the first game in Cleveland, sagged in the last two  -- not surprising considering the lineups look like spring training road games,

* The Twins have had just 21 home games so far, by far the fewest in the majors. They're scheduled to play 30 of their next 40 games at Target Field, starting tonight with the opener of a four-game series with Texas.

With no disrespect to the Cleveland Indians, the Texas Rangers right now pose a more significant challenge to the Twins newfound sense of competence.

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