Twins manager Ron Gardenhire turned a few heads recently when he tried to explain away Joe Mauer’s first-half struggles by saying Mauer was feeling pressure to play in the All-Star Game at Target Field. Whether that theory is correct or whether it had nothing to do with Mauer’s early woes, it’s worth noting that the post-break Mauer has been much better. He’s hitting .297 since coming off the DL post-break, and his slugging percentage is up to .473 in that span. That’s more in line with his career marks, and his swing passes the “eye test” as well. Any positive signs from the Twins’ $23 million man are positives for 2015 and beyond.

OUTSIDE CHANCE?

The Twins have 25 games left, meaning Phil Hughes could get five more starts. If he wins them all, he’d win 20 this year.

DON’T FORGET

Sure, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. But that just means it’s time for fall, which is pretty great for a sports fan.