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Tuesday (The Twins' lineup) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Target Field, Twins fans Updated: July 17, 2012 - 8:45 AM

That picture of Justin Morneau is from a few weeks back, when he was in the midst of a 1-for-15 skid that dropped his average down to .229. Since then, he -- like Trevor Plouffe -- has embarked on a 14-game hitting streak. His average, after four hits in Monday's 19-7 laugher, is up to .257. Plouffe is at the same average, steadily working on that part of his game as pitchers learn to keep the ball out of his home run wheelhouse (he hasn't gone deep in the last nine games after his binge).

Both Morneau and Plouffe had hits to the opposite field on Monday, another encouraging sign for players who tend to get pull-happy at times. And when they are both taking quality at-bats the majority of the time, this point is underscored: the Twins have a steady, functional and sometimes dangerous batting lineup.

It might get lost in the midst of the continuing pitching dysfunction, but better health and some savvy offseason moves have allowed Terry Ryan to at least fix half of what ailed the Twins a season ago. And yes, it is dangerous to make generalizations after a 19-run anomaly. But this is more than a one-game burst.

After scuffling through April and May, the Twins hit .278/.332/.423 in June. They are batting .301 in July with an OPS over .800 as a team. For the season, they have scored 383 runs, putting them in the middle of MLB at 15th overall. Since June 1, they are averaging almost 4.8 runs per game (and still close to 4.5 if you throw out last night's outburst).

When they trot out Span-Revere-Mauer-Willingham-Morneau-Plouffe-Doumit as their first seven, they have a chance to win any reasonably pitched game. Whether this makes you optimistic that overall decency isn't as far away as it was in 2011 or frustrated that the starting pitching is weighing it all down is up to you.

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