Minnesota Twins Win AL Central: Five Reasons They Will Win The World Series
The Minnesota Twins were the first MLB team to punch their postseason ticket on Tuesday night after defeating the Cleveland Indians 6-4 at Target Field.
The Twins are currently a game back of the Yankees for the best record in baseball after their division clinching victory improved them to 91-60 on the year.
Minnesota clinched their second straight AL Central title, and they will be one of the top World Series contenders when the playoff get underway in October.
Despite winning the division five times in the past decade, the Twins have been able to get over the playoff hump and into the World Series.
Here are five reasons why this will be the year the Twins get back to the World Series for the first time since 1991 and will ultimately win it.
Balanced Attack at The Plate
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The Twins have been one of the top hitting teams in baseball this season, with the ability to hit for average and power.
Minnesota is currently tied with the Rangers and Royals for the best batting average in the league at .277.
The Twins also have an on-base percentage of .345 which is good for second best in the league behind the Yankees.
Minnesota is not one of the league leaders in home runs this season as they rank ninth with 134, but they still have the ability to do so with players like Jim Thome and Jason Kubel, who have 25 and 19 home runs respectively.
Justin Morneau has missed extensive time due to injury this season but Thome has stepped in and replaced the power outage left by the 2006 AL MVP while also hitting .280 at the plate.
The defending AL MVP Joe Mauer has also been a big part of the Twins offensive success this season, hitting a team leading .331 with 42 doubles and 74 RBI's.
Even as key players such as Morneau and Mauer have missed time due to injury this season, the Twins have continued to find success at the plate and other players have stepped up to charge Minnesota victories.
The Twins should only benefit as some of their key players return to the postseason lineup and give the team an adding boost towards the ultimate goal of a World Series victory.
Pitching Wins Championships
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You have to score to win games, but pitching wins you championships.
The Yankees proved that again last season as they held the Phillies to just over three runs per game in their four World Series wins.
The Twins have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball this season, and the second best pitching staff in the AL behind Oakland.
Since the A's will be spending October at home barring a miracle comeback in the AL West, the Twins will enter the postseason with the best pitching staff in the league.
Minnesota has been led all season by pitching ace Francisco Liriano.
Liriano has been one of the top pitchers in baseball this season, boasting a 14-8 record with a 3.44 ERA in 183.1 innings pitched.
Southpaw starter Brian Duensing has been a great compliment in the Twins rotation to other left-handed ace, with a 10-2 record and 2.19 ERA in 119 innings pitched this season.
Carl Pavano has also been great for the Twins this season as he is currently 17-11 with a 3.60 ERA in 210 innings pitched this year.
The Twins bullpen is in great shape as well after acquiring closers Matt Capps and Brian Fuentes mid-season.
Minnesota will have a three-headed monster anchoring their bullpen in Capps, Fuentes and Jon Rauch. The three have combined for 37 saves and a 2,78 ERA in 84.1 innings pitched for the Twins this season.
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Gardenhire is one of the best managers in baseball, and this season has been no exception.
The 52-year old has now managed the Twins to six division titles since 2002.
Gardenhire has pulled all the right strings for the team this season as they have dealt with serious injuries to key players such as Morneau and closer Joe Nathan.
Those would be two key blows to any team in baseball, and the Twins have managed to fight through them to become the first team to clinch a playoff spot this season.
Their resiliency is a definite reflection of Gardenhire as the team's manager and his ability to get the most out of his players this season.
Gardenhire is a fiery manager who has been ejected 51 times during his career, and he has an aggressive mentality that has clearly motivated his players to perform at a high level this season.
Gardenhire has finished second in the Manager of the Year voting five times, but anything short of first this season would be a dis-justice to the Twins organization and their outstanding manager.
The Emergence Of Delmon Young
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Delmon Young has emerged as one of the leaders on the Minnesota Twins this season.
The Twins have benefited greatly this year as Young is finally producing at the level that many believed he was always capable of.
In the past the Twins have relied upon the big bats of Mauer and Morneau to drive in runs for the Minnesota offense, but this year Young has driven in a team leading 105 RBI's.
Young is currently having the best season of his career as he is hitting .299 with 18 home runs this year to go along with all of his RBI's.
The 25 year-old appears to be maturing this season on and off the field; a welcome sight for Twins fans and the organization.
Young will be a key factor in determining the Twins postseason success and if he can keep swinging a hot bat the Twins will have a great shot at winning it all this season.
Home Field Advantage
The Twins have had no trouble adjusting to their move outdoors this season.
Minnesota moved into their newly constructed Target Field at the start of the season and have failed to disappoint their fans this season as they are currently tied with the Yankees for the best home record in the AL at 51-25.
While the Twins have played slightly above .500 on the road with a record of 40-35, they have been much better at their new home park.
If Minnesota can finish with the best record in the AL their home field advantage will give them a great shot at winning the pennant for the first time in nearly 20 years.