At the All-Star break there were questions surrounding the Minnesota Twins line-up. They didn't have an every day third basemen who could contribute offensively. Justin Morneau had just suffered a concussion one week prior and it was unknown when he might return, if at all.
Since then though, the questions have subsided. Danny Valencia has cemented himself at third base. Michael Cuddyer has been playing first base for the injured Morneau. Jason Repko has been an excellent defensive outfielder in place of Cuddyer—when Jason Kubel isn't getting the start in right field, anyway.
Jim Thome has his sweet uppercut swing hitting the ball a long, long ways.
Joe Mauer is putting together another relatively quiet AL MVP campaign.
Delmon Young is finally looking like a player taken first overall in the MLB Draft is supposed to look like.
And now the Twins find themselves in a position to overtake the New York Yankees strangle hold on the best record in the American League. The Yankees currently have a two-game lead over the Twins with 19 to play. The Yankees are currently on a three-game losing streak and have lost six of their past seven. The Twins on the other hand are on a two-game win streak and have won eight of their last nine.
To say the Twins have a shot at having the best record in the American League is accurate, but in order to actually do so there are some players who need to step up. Denard Span, the Twins speedy lead-off man, is only hitting .267 this year and has been unable to draw out long at bats.
Kubel's power numbers have been respectable, but his batting average has been slowly dropping over the past two weeks and currently sits at .256 as well as leading the team in strikeouts with 105.
If the Twins want a chance at holding home field advantage until the World Series, those two players are going to need to be more disciplined at the plate.