The first week of the 2015 Minnesota Twins season was about as bad anyone could have drawn it up. Infielders forgetting to touch the base before throwing the ball to first on a double play attempt, outfielders taking awkward routes to fly balls only to have them fall in for doubles, missed opportunities with runners in scoring position and countless other mental and physical errors.
Minnesota got swept by the Tigers in their opening series, falling by a combined score of 22-1. They then lost two of three games against the White Sox.
They were 1-6 and had two games left in a series with the undefeated Kansas City Royals. Then, the Twins beat the seemingly unbeatable Royals only to follow up the performance with another win, this time coming from behind…twice.
What changed? The mental errors were completely gone, they physical errors were kept to a minimum and now the Minnesota Twins have a shot to establish themselves by continuing this trend against the struggling Indians at home this weekend.
Every at-bat has been a war for the suddenly more resilient Twins and you don’t need to look any further than six time All-Star Joe Mauer to see this. Mauer was just 1-for-4 yesterday as he saw his season average drop to .281 but he still plated three runs on three separate occasion; an RBI groundout to tie the game in the third, an RBI single in the fourth and a sacrifice fly as the team was pulling away in the eighth.
The bullpen has held strong when the team needs it the most as well. All-Star closer Glen Perkins is 2-for-2 in save opportunities on the season thus far and set up man Casey Fien hasn’t allowed a baserunner in 3.1 innings pitched.
Cleveland’s season hasn’t been going much better than the Twins has so far; each club currently has just three wins. After taking two of three from the Astros to open the season, the Indians haven’t produced much. Minnesota will have their hands full in game one against Corey Kluber, who was 2-1 against the Twins with a 2.70 ERA as they counter with Mike Pelfrey, who hasn’t gotten credit for a win since August 20, 2013. But don’t count the Twins team out if they come out playing like they have the past two days.
Backing Pelfrey in the rotation will be the team’s Opening Day starter Phil Hughes, who has had only two runs of support through two starts and Trevor May, who has arguably been most hurt by mistakes from the Minnesota defense.
A second straight series win would go a very long way for this young team.