Where do I begin...
With Johan Santana's Cy Young/MVP conversation? With Torii Hunter manufacturing a run in Sunday's blowout against the Tigers? How about a conversation about how the Twins are just two games behind said Tigers, and not much further behind the Yankees for the best record in the American League? Perhaps a little something about where I've been for the last week...
Do you remember when things were horrible? Do you, really? It was so long ago...I'm not sure if I can quite remember it all myself. All I have are flickering memories in faded shades of color, a bit of Johan Santana not being Johan Santana; Justin Morneau being the disappointing version of himself from 2005; a bullpen that couldn't stop the bleeding on a papercut. It was ages ago, yet I'm positive that something wasn't quite right.
Now, things are beautiful. Our team wins. Our team wins a lot. After what looked to be a forboding defeat at the hands of the division leaders way back last Thursday, well, we kicked ass. Joe Mauer turned back in to Joe Mauer. Johan Santana was Johan Santana. Boof Bonser was Johan Santana,too.
Going into tonight's game against the streaking Oakland Athletics, the Twins find themselves just two games back of Detroit and a game and a half in front of the stumbling White Sox. If you were at any of the games this weekend, I'm jealous. The atmosphere was intense most of the time, but being a fan at Sunday's game had to give you at least a moment's sensation of a team invincible.
Jumping back to what I said about the streaking Athletics; the A's are 82-60, meaning the Twins are just one game better. While we manage to miss both Zito and Harden (15 day DL) on this trip, we're still facing three talented pitchers. Both Haren and Blanton are tough, and Sarloos has been solid for a number five starter.
Offensively, Nick Swisher has been nearly everything Billy Beane could have wanted. Power (31 homers) and patience at the plate (85 walks, .373 OBP) more than make up for the sub-par batting average (.257). Jason Kendall is hitting well, Frank Thomas has turned back the clock, and players like Milton Bradley, Eric Chavez, Mark Kotsay and Jay Payton give Oakland a well-rounded order.
Playoff atmosphere continues tonight at the Dome, in what could quite possibly be a postseason preview. Enjoy the game.