No All-Stars, no problem for surging Twins

The Minnesota Twins have been playing some good baseball this season — good enough baseball to allow the team to wake up this morning with the third-best record in the American League even if fans are not taking notice.

The first edition of All-Star balloting was released yesterday, and it is clear that the team is faring far better in the standings than they are in the polls. No Twins player was in the top five for their respective position in the American League, and none of their outfielders were in the top fifteen. The Kansas City Royals, on the other hand, who are just one game ahead of the Twins for the division lead, had five of their players leading all vote getters at their respective positions.

Do the Twins have players worthy of All-Star selections? Of course they do.

Second baseman and leadoff hitter Brian Dozier is currently one extra-base hit behind Josh Donaldson for the league lead. Dozier also leads American League second baseman in runs scored, doubles and home runs. A strong argument can also be made for third baseman Trevor Plouffe getting a spot on the All-Star team.

Minnesota is 17-6 in the month of May and riding a four-game winning streak as they look to sweep the Boston Red Sox with a win at home this afternoon. With their 2-1 victory over Boston last night, the team clinched their fourth straight series victory.

The offensive production from players like Plouffe and Dozier, along with the timely offense of veterans Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter, who are hitting a combined .365 with runners in scoring position on the season, has really sparked the team’s offense, but the Twins also have the most improved pitching staff in baseball which has played a huge part in their success.

Two-time All-Star Glen Perkins is leading the Majors with 17 saves and boasts a stellar 1.25 ERA. Kyle Gibson is tenth in the American League with a 2.72 ERA and Mike Pelfrey is right behind him at 2.77. After going 6-12 in his first season as a Twin, Ricky Nolasco has thrown his name in the hat for Comeback Player of the Year with his 5-1 record and is undefeated so far this month.

It’s clear that the fans of baseball don’t look at the Twins like other top teams in the league, but that hasn’t defined the team and they’ve done great things while turning heads so far.  Keeping it up will be a difficult task as the rest of the league starts to take notice, but hope is now back with the fans in the Twin Cities after four straight seasons of losing 90 or more games.

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