The Twins have turned the page on the calendar, and turned the corner on their season.
The Twins entered the month of June with a 19-37 record. Now, on June 6, they’re 22-37. It’s only five wins — but they mean a lot. A year ago, we wouldn’t have blinked at a five-win streak … especially against the Royals and Indians. But in this current season, things are different. The Royals started the 2011 season winning. The Indians are at the top of the division.
The Twins? Yeah, not so much.
We should see remnants from weekend series in Kansas City in the weeks to come. Many of the starters who fans have grown to love have been absent from the mix-and-match line ups, while players who made us ask “um, who?” took starting positions. Yet, they all literally and figuratively, stepped up to the plate.
Alexi Casilla, in my opinion, has been the most surprising. I’ll admit, for the last three seasons, I’ve cringed when he walked up to the plate. But he has proven me wrong, and I now look forward to Casilla’s at-bats. He’s batting an electrifying .432 with five RBIs in his last 12 games (What’s more impressive is he only hit .167 in May).
The fire that’s ignited under Casilla is sparking smaller fires across the field. Michael Cuddyer is getting his bat back. The bullpen is on a roll. Morneau is starting to look like his pre-concussion self. Drew Butera is make effective plate appearances. Other players we would normally only see at Spring Training (Brian Dinkelman, Trevor Plouffe, Luke Hughes, etc.) are also making a notable impact.
On the horizon, some of the starters are about to return. Joe Mauer is back playing in the minors as he finishes up rehab for bilateral leg weakness. He’s eligible to return on June 12th. Tsuyoshi Nishioka is expected to make his Target Field debut on Thursday when the team returns home to host the Rangers. (Nishi: on behalf of Twins Territory: Okaeri! — translation: welcome back!)
The Twins have played 38 road games and just 21 at home so far this season. I’d like to think the Twins play better at home than they do on the field. The home-to-road ration will even out as the summer rolls along.
And speaking of summer, it seems like Mother Nature is a Twins fans. The temperature is heating up along with the team. That should make Thursday’s return to Target Field a hot and fun one, don’t ‘cha think?