Since the last post on this blog, the Twins went from "Nail in the coffin" to "Lazarus-like" in a matter of 20 days. When they slumped to a 4-7 start to September, I was ready to throw in the towel, I'll admit it. But then Minnesota did something they hadn't done since the first half: get consistent starting pitching. Suddenly, Brian Duensing was our new Kevin Slowey, Carl Pavano settled down and Nick Blackburn reverted to pre-Break form. And Scott Baker - aside from a minor meltdown last Sunday vs. Detroit - has been lights out of late (last eight starts, 3.35 ERA, 1.117 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, .220 BAA). The result was a complete turnaround in fortunes, as the team rattled off nine wins in their past ten games to put themselves in position to challenge for the division.
But that's not all. See, the Detroit Tigers had a nice seven-game lead, and you don't lose a lead like that, this late, unless you collapse. And after reaching a season-high 14 games over .500 on September 6, that's exactly what they did, dropping nine of their next 12 games before winning the finale in Minneapolis and bashing Cleveland twice this week.
Here are the facts:
- The Twins play Kansas City six times and Detroit four times.
- Sounds like Francisco Liriano will be taking Jeff Manship's spot in the rotation Sunday, which means he'll once again pitch vs. KC in the final weekend of the season.
- Denard Span is likely to return to the lineup Friday night, just in time to get a few game-action cuts before heading to Detroit
- Duensing, Pavano, Blackburn and Baker will pitch against the Tigers
- We are missing Justin Morneau and Joe Crede
- Michael Cuddyer is extremely streaky, and is currently batting .381 with 5 homers and 16 RBI during the team's 10-game hitting streak. The previous 10 games? He batted .179 with 2 homers and five RBI. Watch out for a slump…
- After batting .213 during the first five months of the season, Nick Punto's bat has come alive to the tune of .327 during September. What's more, Matt Tolbert is hitting .364 this month in the eight-hole. That's right folks, THE PIRANAS ARE BACKKKK!!!!
- Jason Kubel has been especially bad lately - batting .219/.282/.486 over the past ten games.
Alright, every game is big now… Detroit plays today at 6:05 p.m., too. I'll be listening to it. Talk to you guys soon!