After a two-game sweep of their division rivals and in the midst of a three-game win streak, Twins fans can start cautiously emerging from the woodwork. Bandwagoners..maybe hang out a little longer.
Things are starting to come together for this baseball club, minor league players are pitching in and the bats are starting to connect as the Twins begin to pull up out of their annual early season bugs. Three main things need to fall into place if the team wants to continue a successful May.
Pitchers need to keep improving. All five members of the starting rotation are tied with a whopping two wins apiece. Brian Duensing has the prettiest ERA at 2.91 and Liriano pulls in last with a 6.61. However, the pitching staff has begun to prove why there was competition between them in spring training.
For the purposes of a positive outlook, the last three games have been strong starts. In Chicago the Twins were able to hold onto one run leads, which is something this writer would have laughed at two weeks ago.
If the starters can continue to improve the only problem area becomes the bullpen, which will soon be bolstered by a healthy Kevin Slowey and a more confident Joe Nathan.
Bats need to keep going. Before tonight's 9-2 shellacking of the Red Sox there was yet to be an offensive masterpiece this season. With big bats like Delmon Young, Jim Thome and Joe Mauer getting healthy off the field, this isn't a major surprise.
Look for more games like tonight's when they return to form. Players need to step up and the lone soul this season has been Jason Kubel. Unfortunately for minor league call-ups, some of this lies on them, but is also an opportunity to gain notice.
Players need to get healthy and (fingers crossed) stay that way. While it is clear there's no specific timetable for Delmon Young, Joe Mauer or Tsuyoshi Nishioka's return, it may be a small blessing in disguise.
If the team can get their bats rolling and then slowly integrate these key players back into the lineup with little pressure, the Twins offense will slip into its regular form and no one needs to get overworked.
May sees the team facing many AL West opponents, dabbled with interleague play. The Twins usually bode well in these matchups, so hopefully Twins Territory is in for a turnaround.