It may very well be that in the grand scheme of things, a three-game series in early May isn't all that meaningful. Nevertheless, there was something immensely satisfying about the Twins' weekend sweep over the Tigers. Perhaps it is because the Twins have now won five consecutive games, all against AL Central contenders. Or maybe it is because, with the exception of a rough first inning for Boof Bonser on Sunday, the Twins pitching staff effectively shut down a high-powered offense that had averaged 7.2 runs over its past 17 games. Mostly, though, I think it is because the Tigers have simply dominated the Twins in the recent past. Including their two-game sweep in Detroit earlier this season, the Tigers entered the weekend with a 25-14 record against the Twins since 2006.
The Twins offense showed some promising signs this weekend, scoring 22 runs in the three games and coming back from an early 6-0 deficit to earn a sweep-clinching victory in yesterday's finale. I was stunned by this offense's meager performance during the month of April, and fully expected some major improvement in May. We might be starting to see that. After seeing his batting average drop to a season-low .230 with a four-strikeout performance on April 22, Carlos Gomez has batted .450 and struck out only twice in 20 at-bats. Joe Mauer went 7-for-11 (.636) with four RBI in the Tigers series and is now hitting .333/.396/.434 on the season. Justin Morneau picked up five hits in the series and has his average up to .284.
The one player in the lineup who continues to be a major source of concern at this point is Delmon Young. He had a decent series over the weekend and he's drawn four walks in his past seven games after working just three in his first 23 games, but he hasn't collected an extra-base hit in two weeks and now sports an awful .307 slugging percentage. The frustration with Young isn't because he's failed to live up to his supposedly vast power potential, it's that he has shown NO power whatsoever over the first five weeks of the season, which is simply unacceptable for a left fielder, particularly one who only gets on base at a .306 clip.
Here's some perspective: through 114 at-bats, Young has totaled three doubles. That's the same number as Johan Santana has in 15 at-bats.
If Young can break out and start doing something with the bat, this offense could do some damage in the upcoming weeks, because several other players seem to be heating up. It's pretty difficult to enjoy much offensive success when the guy you're counting on to be your big right-handed stick can't outhit your former ace pitcher, though.