The Twins were also 8-7 after 15 games in 2013, so don't get too excited, but in 2012 and 2011 the team was already looking listless at 5-10. This season, the team has been fun to watch even though they've been winning in some unconventional ways, and right now Minnesota just looks like a team that doesn't expect to lose by the time the first pitch of the game has been thrown.
Let's not stop to think about how refreshing it is that such an impression excites us. Me. Whatever.
Game One of the double-header was, officially, the coldest outdoor baseball game in franchise history at 31 degrees. At that temperature, as any Minnesotan knows, anything you do with your hands is going to sting. Catching a hard line drive or putting good wood on the ball will leave your hands feeling like someone just slapped your palms with a 2-by-4. That didn't both the Twins, who knocked out ten hits en route to a seven-run performance.
But it was Kyle Gibson who got the attention, blanking the Blue Jays over eight innings. Toronto managed just four hits, but never had more than a single base runner in an inning. Gibson struck out four and walked one on 105 pitches, and tried to convince Gardy to leave him out there and finish the shutout, but to his credit Gardenhire did what was probably the best thing for the player and handed the ninth over to Anthony Swarzak.
Gibson will have other opportunities for his first career complete game and shutout. For now he's 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA and, according to Baseball Reference, is already worth 1.1 wins above replacement. (It's just 0.3 by FanGraphs' calculations, so let's roll with the higher number, right?)
Six Twins in a row reached base in the fifth, ultimately leading to a five-run inning. A Trevor Plouffe sac fly and a two-out double from Chris Colabello in the sixth topped off the scoring, bringing us to our 7-0 final score in Game One.
Game Two wasn't as much fun. At least, not right away. Mike Pelfrey couldn't stay out of trouble. A pair of walks in the first inning came around to score, he walked and plunked a guy in the second, walked another in the third, and then came undone in the fifth and was charged with all three of the inning's runs. Samuel Deduno did Pelfrey no favors.
Brian Dozier led off the game with his fifth homer of the campaign. He now has six career leadoff homers, which ties him with Zoilo Versalles for the most in franchise history. Chris Colabello brought home two with a double in the fifth, which left the Twins down 5-3 going into the sixth.
That brings us to the bottom of the eighth. It was one of the most unlikely and unbelievable innings I've ever seen. Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos, and J.A. Happ combined to walk seven batters, recording just one out (a sac bunt from Eduardo Nunez) while handing the Twins the lead. Handing the Twins the lead, without the Twins actually getting a hit. Toronto pitchers walked seven men, offered up a trio of wild pitches, and the Twins were up 7-5 before Jason Kubel delivered a two-run single.
And then Josmil Pinto walked for the second time in the inning.
You can watch the highlights of the inning right here. It was such a mess of an inning, that it prompted Dick Bremer to say "I haven't seen a game like this since my son Erik was in Little League."
And so we head into the weekend with the Twins riding something of a high, and with plenty of things to be happy about. Brian Dozier is hitting .207/.356/.483. Trevor Plouffe is batting .309/.418/.436. Jason Kubel is mashing .340/.421/.520. Chris Colabello is raking at .357/.410/.571. Josmil Pinto has powered his was to .206/.372/.500.
I can't tell you it won't end eventually. I can't tell you that this five guys will keep mashing. But the Twins are picking up big hits when they need them, the team has had heroes when they were necessary, and it looks like almost everyone is happy to take a walk.
Happy Friday, folks.