Twins sitting in a good spot
MORE BARK OR BITE?
Editor's note: Throughout August, ESPN.com will take a close look at various teams in the hunt for a playoff spot to assess whether they have what it takes to survive the dog days of August and remain in contention come October.
At the bottom of the page, each team will receive a dog bone rating based on our overall analysis: five bones = serious postseason contender; four bones = good contender; three bones = average contender; two bones = poor contender; one bone = no contender.
There have been plenty of contributors to the Twins' offensive success this season, with Delmon Young, Jason Kubel and Jim Thome all figuring heavily. In the end, though, it inevitably comes down to Mauer. As the All-Star catcher goes, so go the Twins; the team struggled to play .500 ball in the weeks leading up to the All-Star break while Mauer battled various ailments. But since the Midsummer Classic, Mauer is hitting at a blistering .418/.497/.639 clip and the Twins are 26-10. The 2009 MVP's continuing brilliance has done more than anything to make up for the absence of Justin Morneau.-- Nick Nelson, Twins blogger (Nick's Twins Blog), SweetSpot Blog Network
Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano have done an outstanding job atop the Twins' rotation, but Baker has continually failed to get on track for an extended period of time. His 3.88 xFIP and 3.79 K/BB ratio -- both among the best in the American League -- would suggest that he's pitched well, but Baker's results (11-9, 4.63 ERA) don't match up. That's because when Baker's gotten hit, he's gotten hit hard, as evidenced by his 46 doubles allowed and .472 opponents' slugging percentage. With Kevin Slowey's elbow aching, the Twins need Baker to step up and consistently perform like the true No. 3 starter (or better) that he's been before.-- Nick Nelson, Twins blogger (Nick's Twins Blog), SweetSpot Blog Network
Mauer and Morneau
(April through July)
Twins team stats (through 8/24)
|BA w/ RISP||.283||1st|
-- Doug Kern, ESPN Stats & Info blog
From FanGraphsAfter Justin Morneau went down on July 7, the Minnesota Twins immediately dropped four of five games. They were 1½ games back in the AL Central at that point and were struggling against the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers. More than a month later, things have changed. The Twins have surged of late -- even taking it to the White Sox in a head-to-head series -- and now have an 83 percent chance of making the playoffs. How will the "dog days" play out for the Twins? Let's take a look. For more of For more of FanGraphs' analysis, click here .
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