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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thoughts from a Fellow Fan

Here is another installment of "Thoughts from a Fellow Fan," Taylor speaks his mind on the hot Minnesota Twins...

It certainly has been awhile since my last blog from mid June, but in that blog I said that the Twins season would be full of ups and downs because of the pitching. This statement was both right and wrong for me in that I was right in saying the Twins would be up and down, for after the blog the Twins started struggling for a bit and then absolutely have been on fire as of late. But then I was terribly wrong as somehow this group of no-namers to many MLB junkies have came in night in and night out and been unbelievably consistent. So in what has been a very exciting time for "Twins Nation" since my last post I thought I would reflect on why the Twins have become red hot.

1. Pitching - As I reference earlier, the Twins supposed biggest weakness coming into the season, has now become the Twins biggest strength. The young studs of Baker, Blackburn, Slowey, and Perkins now have Twins fans asking the question Johan who? At the beginning of the season I was encouraged with mediocre stars such as 6IP and maybe 4 earned runs. Now those type of starts are viewed as huge disappointments in my mind. The bullpen has stayed also stayed strong, even though they lost their 8th inning specialist in Neshak early in the season. But in usual Twins fashion the Twins bring up more then capable bullpen pitchers year in and year out, this year those guys being Brian Bass and Craig Breslow. Then there is Joe Nathan. Enough said.

2. Piranhas no more - I hated the piranhas. This may not be a popular comment, but I despised of the term used by Ozzie Guillen about Punto, Tyner, and Bartlett, or whomever else batted in the bottom of the Twins order, in reference to their lack of power and used in stead infield hits and bunt singles to get on base. Well much to my pleasure the guys now filling this void, Casilla, Span, and Punto have emerged as more of a complete MLB hitter. Sure they all have speed, but they also are capable of hitting the ball hard and far. Casilla now has two hit streaks of over 13 games since being called up, and has hit 4 home runs in the short amount of time he has been in the big leagues. Span just added more depth the the already loaded outfield for the Twins, and he seems to just keep getting hits nightly. Then as much as it pains me to say, Punto has shown his inner A-Rod by hitting .360 with a homerun and 6 RBI's in June. The ability of these guys to come in and drive in the Morneau's, Kubel's, and Young's has been very important to the Twins.

3. Delmon Young - Peter Gammons said Sunday on Baseball Tonight that the key for the Twins in this incredible run has been none other then Delmon Young. Delmon has raised his average to near .300 during this win streak, and has provided many clutch hits along the way. Yes he may be first pitch happy, and when I say happy I mean he swings at the first pitch 99 percent of the time, but somehow he has finally turned it on and has been an integral piece in this marvelous stretch for the Twins.

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