Let's take a jump back to May 27th. The Twins were just 16-33 going into the series with the Angels. By the end of the series, the Twins had won one game and lost two, all three games of which were decided by only one run.
Games that have been decided by a single run seem to be a theme for the Twins this year, as 43/108 games have been determined by one run. The Twins are currently 22-21 in this type of nail-biter, and will need to up the ante in this next series to keep hopes alive for climbing the division.
What a perfect time for Denard Span to return to the team, after being on the DL with concussion symptoms since early June. Span was batting .294 before being placed on the DL, with an .361 OBP, just shy of what Jim Thome (.363), Joe Mauer (.365), and Michael Cuddyer (.370) are currently.
A few other things the Twins have going (or will luckily be without) in this series:
- Carl Pavano (6-8), LP on 5/29 vs. the Angels, is not projected to pitch. The Twins lost 5-6 that day.
- Jim Hoey (1-2), LP on 5/27 vs. the Angels, is not currently on the active roster. The Twins lost 5-6 in that game.
- Nick Blackburn (7-8) is also not slated to pitch. Last Monday's loss (6-20 vs. the Rangers) is still a fresh wound.
- Brian Duensing (8-8), one of two starting pitchers at or above .500WP, will pitch tonight. Duensing is 3-1 in his last 4 starts.
- Francisco Liriano (7-8) is projected to pitch Thursday. Liriano is 2-1 in his last 3 starts.
Besides pitching, which continues to be the Twins' most pressing concern;
- Since May 27th, the Twins currently lead the Central Division at 34-25 (.576WP) 1.5 games above Detroit. To put things in perspective, the Twins were 16-33 and 14.5GB on 5/27. While the Twins are still 7.0GB, it is worth noting the Twins are actually playing better baseball (in terms of W-L %) than Detroit.
- The majority of individual batting averages have improved since the last series with the Angels. For example, Michael Cuddyer (.265 on 5/27, .298 currently), Delmon Young (.206 on 5/27, .264 currently), Jim Thome (.221 on 5/27, .252 currently), and Alexi Casilla (.234 on 5/27, .259 currently).
- In the past 10 games decided by one run, the Twins are 6-4. Of the six wins, Glen Perkins was granted three, Scott Baker (who is the probably pitcher in Wednesday's game) earned two, and Brian Duensing earned one. (Note: Matt Capps alone claims 2 of 4 losses in the past 10 games decided by one run.)
- Jim Thome's 598th home run comes in this series.
- Joe Mauer's appetite for mashed taters has increased too?
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka still remembers what hitting a home run feels like.
- The Twins remain concussion-free the remainder of the year.
- We can stop getting the bottle of Tums out every time Matt Capps comes to the mound.