It seems like the Twins can do no wrong right now. They are getting phenomenal pitching performances on a nightly basis. The hitters are delivering with runners in scoring position. It doesn't matter who the opposition is, they are dominating.
One could try to make the case that the Twins are doing their winning against weak teams and bad pitchers. Against teams like the Pirates and Cubs, that is a fair point, but let's not forget that this incessant winning began with a sweep of the Red Sox (who have since rattled off 10 straight wins) and last night they picked up their second straight win against the Dodgers, who entered the series in first place in the NL West.
The fact of the matter is that the Twins are just on fire right now, and it doesn't seem to matter who they face. Forgive the cliche, but this is a team that is clicking on all cylinders. You won't find a team that's playing this well anywhere else in baseball...
Oh wait, yes you will. How about the two teams ahead of the Twins in the AL Central? The Tigers and White Sox both won again last night, keeping the Twins a healthy 11 games out of first place and nine games behind Chicago for the lead in the Wild Card race. Since June 8, the Twins, White Sox and Tigers are a combined 46-9. Unbelievable.
To illustrate the point that the Twins are not just beating up on crappy pitchers, last night's game provides a great example. The starter for the Dodgers, Derek Lowe, entered the game with an excellent 2.90 ERA and an opponents' batting average of just .226. The Twins' hitters tagged him for nine earned runs on 12 hits in just 5 and 2/3 innings.
For his part, Francisco Liriano had another dominant outing. His line: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. The only damage over his seven innings of work was a pair of solo home runs from the Dodgers' top hitters, Nomar Garciaparra and Jeff Kent.
There were many contributors on offense, but the most notable performance was a 5-for-5 night from Joe Mauer. Mauer, who had collected four hits on Monday night, is now hitting an incredible .389/.454/.533 on the season. Not too shabby.
Today the Twins will look to clinch their fourth sweep of the month as they send Johan Santana to the hill opposite LA's Odalis Perez. Perez has a 6.33 ERA this year and Santana has not allowed more than one earned run in a game since May, so I'd say this matchup favors the Twins.