As the Minnesota Twins navigate one of the, if not the, most important series they've played this season, there are a handful of players who have helped the team stay afloat and stay atop of the American League Central Division as of late.
Holding a single-digit lead over the Cleveland Guardians entering Tuesday, the Twins have made their way to Cleveland where they kicked off a three-game series in hopes of extending that lead and increasing their odds to make the playoffs.
With every game being important, especially their final three with the Guardians, two players in particular have helped provide a spark for the team at a pivotal time after both players came off IL stints.
Vintage Jorge Polanco is showing up at the exact right time
The first is Jorge Polanco, who has battled hamstring issues this year and most recently was activated from the IL on July 28.
In 33 games since Polanco has returned to the Twins' lineup, the 30-year-old is slashing .280/.400/.500 with five doubles, seven home runs, 24 RBI, 23 walks, 36 strikeouts, a wRC+ of 150 and has reached base at least once in 13 straight games.
With a team that has struggled against left-handed pitching, Polanco's line of .289/.316/.474 with four home runs and 13 RBI in 37 games against southpaws is a welcomed and much-needed return to the lineup.
Not only has Polanco found overall success since coming back from injury, but he has also picked up timely hits for the Twins as well.
In a four-game home series against the Texas Rangers from Aug. 24-27, Polanco went 6-16 with a home run, three walks and drove in a pair of runs. His long ball came against Max Scherzer to tie the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning, and he was a key contributor in boosting the Twins to three victories during the series.
Recently, Polanco blasted a three-run homer on Aug. 28 where he put the game out of reach for good in the Twins' lone win their last time out against the Guardians.
With the important series at Cleveland underway, Polanco welcomed Lucas Giolito back to the AL Central by smacking a solo shot to put the Twins up 1-0 in the first and ended his night going 3-3 with a walk and two RBI.