The last time the Twins won six straight games — a streak that actually reached eight straight — they only improved from 24-39 to 32-39, so it wasn’t exactly season-changing. Still, Scott Baker, Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano each won twice during that hot stretch back in 2011.
There have been 149 winning streaks of six games or longer in the major leagues since the day that one ended, June 21, 2011. Heck, the Cardinals are on one now, having won all seven games in the past week. All 30 major-league teams except one — the Twins — have won six straight in that time, and teams like Tampa Bay and Atlanta have logged 10 such streaks. So you might say the Twins, who have now won five consecutive games on this homestand, are trying to do something tonight that really shouldn’t be this rare.
Trevor May will pitch, facing the team that made his big-league debut such a disappointment last August. And while the Twins are hoping for big things out of their starter, it’s the entire offense that has come alive during this hot streak. The Twins have scored eight or more runs three times during the winning streak, have moved two games above .500, and have completely closed their run differential, having scored and allowed exactly 113 runs this year.
The mood in the clubhouse is upbeat, but not too celebratory, and their manager approves.
“I like the fact that they’re having fun in winning. I prefer even keel,” Molitor said. “Hopefully those guys know how to enjoy success, but keep it in check. It’s about respecting the fact that you know what baseball is like, and what a season is about, and the fact that you’re playing people who are trying to do the same thing.”
Still, he said, positive results seem to beget positive results. “It helps. When you feel lighter about the burden of the game, you’re going to have a tendency to perform better, and that’s been what I notice right now,” Molitor said. “There’s a freedom out there — guys are just letting their abilities flow. Whether it’s on the mound or base running, defense, offense, guys are playing the way they should play.”
Eddie Rosario is here to play, too, and his parents have arrived for his debut. But because he didn’t have a chance to go through pregame preparation yesterday, and because the Twins are playing so well, Molitor has decided to wait a day to put the 23-year-old outfielder in the lineup.
“A lot of times when a guy comes up, you like to get him in there as quickly as you possibly can to get his feet wet,” Molitor said. “I like the way the lineup looked last night, I like that [Eduardo] Escobar is beginning to get in a groove. So I decided to give Eddie a day.”
Here are tonight’s starting lineups for the 7:10 p.m. start: