The Twins had themselves a nice Memorial Day weekend, sweeping the Texas Rangers at home and winning the first game of the current series with the Mariners, extending their winning streak to 5 games. It's crazy how much things can change in a week. Last Wednesday, the Twins had lost 3 straight, including 2 close games vs. the Yankees, and at a mere 6 games over .500, the Tigers were nipping at our heels. Now the Twins stand at 11 games over and the Tigers have fallen 4.5 back, having won only once in 6 road-games against Mariners and the Athletics.
As to the 'why' concerning the Twins recent run, I looked into it a bit and came up with the following:
1.) Finally hitting better with runners in scoring position:
Through the first 2 months of this season, the Twins bats with RISP have been mediocre at best. Domedog wrote about it back on May 7th. In the last 5 games, Twins hitters are 14 for 42 with RISP, good for a .333 average. I know that the Twins were particularly bad with the bases loaded, but I don't have an statistics on whether that has changed much.
2.) The starting staff has been excellent:
In every game of the current 5 game streak, the Twins starter has won the game. Not only that, every Twins starter during this streak has had a quality start. The Twins have out-scored their competition 29 to 13 in the past five games.
3.) The bullpen has been solid:
During the current streak, Twins relievers have pitched 12 1/3 innings, allowing only 2ERs. Rauch has saved 3 of the past 5 games and minus a little hiccup last night, has looked pretty good this year saving 13 games for the 1st place Twins.
4.) Spectacular defense continued:
I saw a little Elias tid-bit on the Twins ESPN page today, they recently broke the record for fewest errors in the 1st 50 games of a season with only 12. The previous record was 17 by the 2009 Phillies and 2006 Red Sox. This teams has been excellent defensively and if O-Dog can avoid the DL, I expect this will continue.
Good pitching, good defense and timely hitting is usually a formula for success and as of late the Twins have been following it to a 'T'. Their next 5 games are on the road vs. the Mariners and Oakland before coming home for another 9-game homestand vs. the Royals, Braves and Rockies.
A belated THANK YOU to the men and women who serve, or have served, in the U.S. Military. Thank you for everything that you sacrifice to protect our freedom. A special thanks goes out to my friend Jason who recently returned from a year in Iraq. I know his wife and young-son are very happy to see him and I'm very glad he's back safe as well.