The Minnesota Twins have surprised a lot of people in the world of baseball during the first half of the 2015 campaign. The franchise sits only several games back of the Kansas City Royals in its quest for the AL Central pennant, which is certainly a nice place to be after Minnesota finished last in the division a season ago.
But last year’s 70-win squad has already added 49 victories to their extremely impressive 2015 resume, with still another half of baseball left to go.
The squad has been fueled by the hitting skills of second baseman Brian Dozier – who leads the Twins in home runs and runs batted in – and first baseman Joe Mauer. The dynamic duo have played in 88 of the 89 first half games for the club, and they will be relied heavily for the remainder of the season if Minnesota wants to be a title contender.
First Half Strengths and Weaknesses
The game of baseball is not a hard one to figure out: Score more runs than your opponent, and you win. The Twins have had no problems scoring runs, as their 383 total runs has helped them to the ninth overall in Major League Baseball in runs scored.
Minnesota has also been aided by AL-leading save man Glen Perkins. He has been absolutely fantastic in key closing situations for the club, with 28 total saves to his nice tally for the season.
Graphic via hardballtalk nbcsports
There really haven’t been a ton of glaring weaknesses for this team in the first half, and the most glaring issue is that Minnesota is still allowing quite a few runs per game. However, when you’re scoring runs at the pace that this Twins team is right now, you can get by with it.
Looking Ahead to the Second Half
Fielding and batting haven’t been a problem for this Minnesota squad. But again, should this team go into a slump (which they inevitably will since it happens to everyone at some point), the pitching will need to be even more consistent. The Twins are in the middle of the pack when it comes to runs allowed, so that number will need to go down when the bats cool off.
Luckily, Minnesota has given itself a tiny bit of breathing room in terms of holding off the other AL Central challengers. Detroit is surprisingly nine games back of the lead, while the Indians and White Sox are bringing up the rear. And given that the Twins are less than five games out of first, a hot streak to start the second stanza could continue to build on the momentum that this team had heading into the All-Star break.
Minnesota will head out on the road for six straight games to start the second half, and then comes a major three-game home set against the AL East-leading New York Yankees. That wildly important series will be the start of nine straight homes games for the Twins, which could allow them to really build a nice record by the time August rolls around.
Given the unpredictability of the AL Central, there’s a good chance that the division will have yet to be decided when the Twins roll into Cleveland for four games in late September, and then finish up the campaign in early October with three at home against the Royals.
Graphic via sportslogos.net