Ron Gardenhire has been the most successful manager in Minnesota Twins history—at least during the regular season. With six division titles in nine seasons he has been masterful in winning the American League Central, a division that is often considered one of the worst in baseball along with the NL West.
A horrible start to the 2011 season that has seen every starter in the field placed on the disabled list, with the exception of Michael Cuddyer and Danny Valencia, the Twins were 16.5 games back and in last place when the calendar turned to June.
Since then, in a little more than a month the Twins have shaved off 8.5 games and currently find themselves a mere eight games back of the division-leading Cleveland Indians.
Known as a second-half team, Gardenhire once again may have the Twins poised to win his seventh division title. It would be their third consecutive division title, a feat that Gardenhire achieved when he first took over as skipper of the Twins in 2002.
I looked back at the performance of the Twins in the second half of the season since 2002. There are positive signs that Minnesota can overcome the worst start in Gardenhire's tenure and secure another division title.
Of course, the standard disclaimer does apply—"past performance does not guarantee future gains."
Here are five reasons the Twins can recover and win the AL Central.