In my last post about keys to 2nd half success, my first key was "BEAT THE WHITE SOX" asserting that on a purely psychological level, taking at least 3 of 4 was a necessity. As I predicted, it wasn't easy, but the Twins did take 3 of 4 over the weekend, capping it off with a 4-run, 9th inning comeback yesterday afternoon. To me, the most encouraging development of the weekend was offense. Over the 4 games, the Twins scored 24 runs, including three 7-run games. The non-Liriano/Pavano starters continued recent struggles with Slowey giving up 5ERs on Thursday and Blackburn giving up 5ERs yesterday. Liriano and Pavano were both their typical selves, keeping the Twins in the games and each posting wins on Friday and Saturday.
The next step is a series win vs. the suddenly on-fire Indians who just wrapped up a 4-game home sweep of the Detroit Tigers. Fortunately for the Twins, the Indians are a vastly different team on the road barely winning 1/3rd of the road games they play and I doubt that's going to suddenly change. The matchups are as follows:
Tonight: Aaron Laffey v. Scott Baker
Tomorrow Night: Justin Masterson v. Kevin Slowey
Wednesday Night: Jake Westbrook v. Francisco Liriano
Both Laffey and Masterson have not fared well against the Twins during their careers, giving up .830+ OPS against. Westbrook has fared slightly better( .730 OPS against), but has a 5.03 road ERA so far this season. This is one of those "winnable series" I talked about it, and I expect the Twins to take care of business. After this series, the Twins have 4 games at Baltimore and 3 at Kansas City, again, a couple of "winnable series." I have a good feeling here, that the Twins could get on a run, here's to hoping.