The Twins won in dramatic fashion last night, with Delmon Young singling in Michael Cuddyer as the winning run in the bottom of the ninth for a walk-off 7-6 victory. The win was fifth in a row for the Twins, setting a season-high, and with the White Sox losing the hometown nine pulled into a tie for a second place just 4 1/2 games behind the division-leading Tigers with nearly six weeks remaining in the season.
But, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
While last night's win was impressive, it came against a last-place team with a rookie pitcher on the hill. And while the Twins have excelled recently, it almost seemed like they were bound to go on a decent run at some point after the horrific stretch of baseball they had endured through the earlier part of August. These things always seem to even out.
It's good to see the Twins getting back on the winning track, but realistically the odds are still stacked heavily against their continuing on such a run with the group of pitchers they currently possess. Just take a look at the hurlers the Twins threw out last night prior to Jose Mijares' eighth inning: Armando Gabino (13.50 ERA), Philip Humber (9.00 ERA), Bobby Keppel (5.31 ERA) and Jesse Crain (6.55 ERA). Toss in Jeff Manship and Brian Duensing, and you've got a pitching staff that consists almost overwhelmingly of minor-league quality pitchers. While this group has been able to grind out some victories as of late -- with support from a truly outstanding offensive unit -- I fail to see how they'll be able to scratch out enough victories down the stretch to overcome the Tigers. Unless Francisco Liriano can find his arm strength and Boof Bonser can make some sort of miraculous late-season impact, this pitching staff just isn't good enough to win the AL Central. Period.
That might seem like a downer after an exhilarating walk-off victory, and I don't mean to downplay the Twins' recent success. But that 4 1/2 game gap in the standings is a lot bigger than it looks, and will be as long as the Twins continue to carry a pitching staff that isn't even half big-league caliber.