By Intern Jimmy
Shaking Things Up: April taught the Twins a couple hard lessons. For one, Twins pitchers certainly can’t rely on their reputation any longer. Time to prove on the mound what has been the hallmark of this franchise in the 21st century. Second, enough giving hitters obligatory batting spots based on career numbers. The only numbers that matter are the last month’s laughably low marks of production. A shuffling of spots below the top 3 was in order. Gardenhire finally had the gumption to drop the deplorable duo of T-Phat and RoWhite down in the lineup for the Mariners series, occupying the 7th and 8th spots respectively. A little humble pie to help them get their groove back. Gardy’s move paid dividends Tuesday as both knocked in and scored a run.
Baby Steps: The scheduling gods couldn’t have set this up better to help the Twins regain their confidence and reclaim their swagger. As the 2nd bottle of the season 6-pack is cracked, it’s hard to imagine May tasting as skunky as April. While the Pioneer Press stops short of saying a miracle will save the season, I say baby steps. Baby steps in beating Seattle with Santana returning to his dominant form. Baby steps to sweeping two from the Royally Bads. Baby steps to three redemptive opportunities against the Tigers this weekend to flush the memory of the Detroit debacle down the toilet. Baby steps to .500 baseball by winning 2 of 3 in Texas, where Rangers pitchers are equally adept as the Twins at inflated ERAs. Baby steps to finding exactly what the team is made of hosting the defending champs for a pivotal 4-game series. There’s no reason to worry about October just yet. Let’s see what kind of team May offers and go from there. But if you need proof, here are some recent examples of early season turnarounds.
The Offense Is There, You Just Have To Look For It: To cope with the Twins hitting woes, it’s encouraging to know that the minor leaguers are not falling prey to the majors’ plight. Six players are hitting .300 or better for Rochester (AAA). Catcher Chris Heintz leads the team at .370 a clip while eventual Twins call-ups Jason Kubel and Jason Bartlett are staying sharp until their services are needed on a full-time basis. At New Britain (AA), two 1st round picks are making good on their potential. Denard Span, 2002’s 20th overall pick, is hitting a cool .341 while scorching the base paths with his blazing speed. SS Matt Moses, 2003’s 21st overall pick, is hitting .324 with 3 HRs on the season. Beloit (A) boasts another team leading catcher, Caleb Moore, hitting .347 on the season- what is it with the Twins stockpiling smooth swinging catchers? Also, 1B Erik Lis is carrying a .306 average with 4 HR in 78 at-bats since being called up from rookie ball.