The Twins are the best last-place team in baseball. There, I said it.
That, and other observations about the Twins' recent surge, are the subject of my Monday column. The numbers are against them, but it seems foolish to completely write off a team with a great history of comebacks that plays in a mediocre division.
The Twins have won nine of 11, and their starters have an ERA of 1.96 since June 2. The struggling White Sox come to town, then a lousy San Diego team, and the Twins should start getting key players back from the disabled list almost daily by mid-week.
Michael Cuddyer has five doubles, five homers and 18 RBI in his last 26 games. Alexi Casilla is hitting .337 since May 15. I don't know whether their recent success is sustainable, but I like watching Ben Revere and Casilla at the top of the order. Revere has to stay not just in the big leagues, but in the lineup, even after Denard Span, Jason Kubel, Joe Mauer and Jim Thome return.
You can't simply bench Delmon Young. He's swung much better in the last week, and he's too talented to write off this season. But Revere can spell the other outfielders and be a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner. There's no reason to force Span or Kubel to play every day as they come off injuries while Revere's around.
I also believe that Rene Rivera has passed Drew Butera as the backup catcher. Rivera isn't a great hitter, either, but he is a very good defensive catcher and signal-caller, and at least he takes a good hack at the ball.
-My buddy Mike McCollow invited me to his buddy's basement this weekend to see Damon Dotson sing and play guitar. I highly recommend him. Great voice. He plays locally, and you can check him out at DamonDotson.com.
-Had Yahoo's great NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday Sports Talk. He downplayed expectations on Ricky Rubio, and when I asked if I had been too hard on David Kahn, Woj said, ``No.''
Also spoke with Twins president Dave St. Peter, who hinted that the Twins could be looking at some changes in their scouting operation. Personally, I think they need to take a hard look at their minor-league system. Too often I see (or hear of) guys getting called to the big leagues who haven't addressed their flaws (like Trevor Plouffe's throwing) or have not been taught some basics.
-I enjoyed covering the Lynx's home opener, and then they build a three-game winning streak and beat the defending champs and...take nine days off?
Bad timing. I do think this is going to be a good, entertaining, team, though.
-One thing I've heard from the Twins' clubhouse is that neither the staff nor his veteran teammates want Joe Mauer to return, catch a couple of games, and then start taking days off. They all want to see this guy be a workhorse the rest of the season. Be a workhorse, or find another way to stay in the lineup.
-Upcoming: I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 on Monday, and all week. We'll run Sunday Sports Talk (also on 1500espn) from Target Field again next week.