Minnesota Twins: They Can Keep Up With The Cleveland Indians
The Minnesota Twins are in first place in the American League Central, putting them ahead of the reigning division champions. Can the Twins keep pace?
The Minnesota Twins continue to hold the top spot in the American League Central Division more than a week into the month of June. They are ahead of the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians, something many people did not expect. Will they be able to keep pace with the Tribe?
Their offense may not have the star power, but is superior to Cleveland’s.
Yes, the Indians have Francisco Lindor, Edwin Encarnacion and Jason Kipnis in their lineup, but they don’t have the offense the Twins have. The Twins, led by MVP candidate Miguel Sano, are ahead of the Indians in a number of offensive categories.
The Twins have scored more runs, have more total bases, have a better team batting average, and have a better team on-base percentage than the Tribe. The biggest problem the Indians have is some of their top hitters are hitting below .250.
More from Minnesota Twins News
- Minnesota Twins: Grading the Twins’ Joey Gallo signing
- Minnesota Twins: Grading the Christian Vazquez Signing
- Minnesota Twins: Twins jump into Top 5 in first MLB Draft Lottery
- Minnesota Twins: Byron Buxton wins 2022 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award
- Minnesota Twins: A Twins Homage to the Turkey of the Year Award
Michael Brantley has a great stroke, but it hasn’t translated to many balls leaving the park. Lindor has hit for power, but his average has dipped to .267. The Indians lack a complete hitting threat at the plate, and that is hurting their chances of getting past the Twins.
The Twins have Sano, a guy who is near 20 home runs and has a .307 average. He is the best all-around hitter in the division right now and it has sparked the offense. Brian Dozier is a similar power threat to Encarnacion and Max Kepler is proving he can hit for pop with a decent average like Lindor. Sano truly is the difference between these two lineups right now, showing how valuable he really is.
Twins starting pitching has been bad. The Tribe’s hasn’t been much better.
Remember when the Indians rotation looked good with Corey Kluber healthy, Josh Tomlin rolling and Danny Salazar putting up All-Star numbers? That seems to be a thing of the past. Kluber missed almost all of May with a lower back injury. Even when he’s been able to pitch, he has not looked like the Corey Kluber we have come to expect.
Tomlin has been nothing short of awful this season and Salazar isn’t far behind him. Each have ERAs near five and a half. The worst, though, is team wins leader Trevor Bauer. He strikes guys out in bunches, but can’t get passed the fifth inning, averaging just over five innings per start. He also has an atrocious 6.10 ERA. At least Carlos Carrasco has looked decent. The Indians are in trouble with their current rotation.
The Twins rotation hasn’t been much better, although they have had two great starters so far in Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios. Each of them boast an ERA below three and have effectively been able to contain opposing batters. Until his recent implosion, Hector Santiago was looking great too. Phil Hughes has been sub par and so has Kyle Gibson.
If either of these teams wants to make a run deep into the postseason, they need to bolster their rotations. The Twins have two guys looking good. The Indians could have the same if Kluber returns to form. The Indians do have their bullpen to brag about, however. Andrew Miller and Cody Allen have been untouchable. The Tribe has the advantage in that department.
The Twins can keep up with the Indians.
The Twins can stay in the division title hunt with their improved offense and if their starters can find consistency. Santana is pitching lights out, along with Berrios. Santiago could be helped with his current disabled list stint. The Twins, if in the hunt, could bolster the rotation with a rental arm. If they do that, they are poised to be even better.
Their bats are better than the ones in Cleveland, and that charge is led by Miguel Sano. Max Kepler and Joe Mauer have been great support for the best bat in the division. If the Indians want to take over first in the AL Central, they are going to have to have their bats step up and acquire an arm at the deadline.
Next: Five Potential Twins Trade Targets
This race is far from over for division supremacy. It could be a battle to the end. If the bats keep going and they can find another effective arm in the rotation, the Twins are going to be hard to beat. This race will be fun down the stretch.