As the Twins put the All-Star Game behind them and gear up for the final 68 games on the schedule, they face much uncertainty. They're only six games below .500 -- a marked improvement from recent years -- and although they trail the Tigers by 10.5 games in the Central, they are within seven games of a wild-card spot.
While it's nice to be in a spot where contention is a feasible scenario, we've got to keep in mind that the Twins are still behind seven other AL clubs in the wild-card
As I write this, I'm feeling pretty giddy. I just got done watching Glen Perkins pitch to Kurt Suzuki in the ninth inning of the All-Star Game, closing out a victory for the American League in Derek Jeter's final hurrah.
Admittedly I don't usually get too worked up about pageantry of the so-called Midsummer Classic, but with my lifelong city being showcased -- and with our site holding an event downtown -- I couldn't help but get drawn in this year.
Last year, when the Twins reached the All-Star break, they were 14 games below .500 and 12 games back in the AL Central. In 2012, they had entered the break at 13 games below .500, and 11 games back in the division.
Against that backdrop, their present standing -- 44-50 and 10.5 games behind the first-place Tigers -- looks like another step in the right direction.
The Twins had firmly established their irrelevance by the end of July after crumbling around the break in
Things are pretty bleak for Twins fans these days. The club is caught amidst yet another mid-summer free fall, the coaches and medical staff are once again coming under fire for their handling of injuries, and we're left to ponder who can be called up from Triple-A to plug yet another rotation hole while the offense scuffles.
The negative storylines are too easy to grasp onto at this point, so in an effort to change the tone a bit, I thought I'd focus on a few positive developments
Beyond this season, the Minnesota Twins still owe Ricky Nolasco a total of $37 million over three years. That's something that needs to be kept in mind as we ponder what the best course of action is for the struggling starter.
Ron Gardenhire sounded like he was just about ready to be done with Nolasco during a cranky post-game interview on Sunday, and it's hard to blame him.
"It starts with him," Gardenhire said. "He's got to do a better job. Bottom line is he's got to
When Chris Colabello's season off to an insanely hot start, I remember multiple people commenting to me excitedly about how he was on pace for something like 200 RBI.
Some folks just love to extrapolate those grandiose "on pace" figures when a guy has a great first couple weeks. It's fun early season fodder, but of course, it's all utterly meaningless.
Projecting hypothetical full-season totals at the halfway point is a bit more sensible, because at this point we've got
On Monday night at Target Field, the Twins will play their 81st game, officially marking the halfway point of this 2014 season.
As we reach this key milestone, the state of the club can best be summed up by a lineup decision that took place in game No. 80. In the final game of a six-game road trip, with the Twins trying to snap a five-game losing streak, Ron Gardenhire inserted Chris Parmelee as his center fielder and No. 3 hitter.
Now, I don't
The rosters for the MLB Futures Game were announced on Tuesday. Representing the Twins organization will be Single-A pitcher Jose Berrios and Double-A slugger Kennys Vargas.
None of Minnesota's "Big Three" will be participating. Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano obviously have been injured, and Alex Meyer -- the team's top pitching prospect and its greatest hope for a top-of-the-rotation starter -- simply isn't having a very good season.
That's fairly worrisome, especially
After finishing 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Sunday's sweep-clinching win over the White Sox, Oswaldo Arcia ran his hitless streak up to 31 consecutive at-bats. As Phil Miller noted in his post-game wrap-up, that's eight short of the franchise record.
For all his talent and explosiveness, Arcia has proven to be a slump-prone hitter, with a tendency to look totally lost during extended stretches at the plate.
Right now, he's mired in what I have to imagine is one of the
* The Twins came into this season with a lot of intrigue surrounding the rotation. Between the newly signed free agents and the rising prospects with a chance to debut, there were going to be plenty of storylines to follow here in 2014.
The most important, though, was always going to be Kyle Gibson.
Coming off a rocky MLB debut last year, and entering his first season with no restrictions after Tommy John surgery, Gibson won a spot on the
Despite being perpetually trapped in the shadows of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano within the Twins' system, Eddie Rosario had firmly established himself as a true upper-tier prospect by the end of the 2013 season.
At the age of 21, he had cruised through Single-A and Double-A, batting .302/.350/.460 between the two levels all while working on the defensive transition from outfield to infield. His bat was so good, and his athleticism so outstanding, that
Coming into spring training, I don't think that Ron Gardenhire and the Twins were planning on bringing Josmil Pinto north with the big-league club. The young backstop had been awfully impressive with the bat during a September audition in 2013, sure, but Twins officials commented repeatedly throughout the offseason that he was still somewhat raw and his defensive game needed work.
That was a fair position to hold. Pinto was a bit of a slow developer
The last time I can remember the Twins making a "win now" move was prior to the 2011 season, when they re-signed Carl Pavano and Jim Thome in an effort to recapture the magic that led to 94 wins and a playoff berth in the first season at Target Field.
You can argue that these weren't especially wise moves, but they were clearly aimed at a goal of short-term winning. Pavano, 35, was signed for two years and cost the Twins a potential draft pick. Thome, 40, was signed for one year.
So, as you might have heard, Twins pitching prospect Trevor May has been on a heck of a run in Triple-A. The 25-year-old right-hander was named International League Pitcher of the Week on Monday and hasn't allowed an earned run in his last four starts.
Overall, May is sitting with a 2.62 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 10 starts this year, while averaging about a strikeout per inning and holding opponents to a .196 batting average.
That sounds like a guy