Even before last night's game got underway and the Twins leaped to a 3-0 lead off of five hits in the first inning, I just had a sense that it was going to be a fun game. It wasn't because of my ability to see the future, which is a superpower that I have chosen to use for good rather than evil, but because of the lineup and starting pitcher.
Facing the White Sox in a game that only Minnesota and Chicago fans could care about (and let's be honest, a healthy chunk of those fans have already moved onto football or some other distraction brought on by real life), the Twins set out a lineup full of players auditioning for the future. The lineup featured no fewer than five players who could be a part of the next winning Minnesota ball club, and I'm not counting Joe Mauer.
Danny Santana, Kennys Vargas, Josmil Pinto, Oswalso Arcia, and Aaron Hicks combined to go 8-for-22 with three doubles, a homer, a walk, five runs batted in, and five runs scored. For the first time in a long time I was excited to watch last night's game because, and the team did not disappoint. If you haven't seen the Vargas home run (OH. MY. WORD.) then you need to do that right now. Arcia went the other way for a run-scoring double. Santana hit the ball hard all three times he put the ball in play.
Even Trevor May came out with his best start since his call up. Sure, his mechanics broke down in the fourth and fifth, but that's what you're going to get with May: good innings with strikeout potential followed at any time by bouts of wildness or stretches where his stuff flattens out. But he struck out six in five innings and walked only one player, and for the first three innings (and even occasionally in the fourth and fifth), he legitimately showed us why people lauded his potential.
It's easy to feel positive about your team the morning after an 11-run, 19-hit avalanche. But this morning, my optimism for the future of this team goes beyond the score. There is legitimate talent on the roster right now, and the team's best three prospects (two of whom are among the most promising, blue chip minor leaguers in the game) will make their debut sometime next summer.
The front office has a way to go before they show the fan base that they've done the job required of them in building a winner, and I know that all of the lauded Minnesota farm system won't pan out the way we all hope they will, but that's okay. Right now, I feel good about the future of this team and I'm excited to see what happens next year. And it has been a long time since I've felt like that.