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Morneau goes on DL but Twins win anyway

By Josh Newman
It was a strange week. At least they won, though.

In fact, as far as records go, last week might have been the Twins’ best week of the season. At 5-2, it is hard to argue that they did not play well. So you know what? I won’t.

That’s right, folks: I won’t.

I’ll just say that their pitching was the only negative factor about the whole week. One look at their team ERA of 6.21 through the seven games might make one wonder if they won any games at all.

Then they glance over at the record for the week, and it is clear as day: 5 wins, 2 losses.

So I will note the path that the team took to their 5-2 record last week by pointing out their team batting average of .297. Not too shabby. Imagine them doing this over an entire 162-game schedule.

The top performers of the week were Michael Cuddyer, Joe Mauer, Denard Span, Orlando Cabrera, and Carlos Gomez. I would have picked Alex Casilla as well, but he only had 14 at-bats for the week. Fourteen pales in comparison to the 28-30 at-bats that the rest of the top performers had.

For once, picking out one highlight will be easy: Cuddyer became the first player in club history to homer twice in the same inning. He hit two round-trippers in the seventh inning of Minnesota’s 10-3 victory over the Royals Sunday night. His first was a solo shot off of Kansas City starter Brian Bannister with the two teams tied at one apiece. By the time he victimized Royals reliever Kyle Farnsworth later in the inning, it was hard to remember that the game was actually tied at one point.

The Twins ended up sweeping all three games in the series. It was just the fifth time Minnesota had swept an opponent this season, and paid the Royals back for the series August 11-13 when Kansas City took two out of three from the Twins.

Other than spotty pitching, the only thing that worried me last week was Justin Morneau’s ear infection. He left the game on Monday the 17th because of an ear infection and never returned the rest of the week. His status is listed as day to day. I love Gardy’s sense of humor, though: he joked about trading the slugger after the Twins went 5-1 without him.

Anyway, back to reality. The last status report said he could come back sometime this week. Yes, Minnesota played very well last week, but we all know the truth: this team needs both M & M boys to sustain their traditional potent offense.

Other than Cuddyer’s performance and Minnesota’s sweep of the Royals, it was a fairly uneventful week. I was impressed with the team’s efforts against Texas until the series finale. The team rebounded from an 8-5 loss in the opener with two straight victories before getting flattened 11-1 in the final game of the series.

The Twins are now home for three series through the middle of next week. They begin with a three-game series against Baltimore, followed by a three-game series against Texas. Minnesota closes the homestand with three games against the White Sox. Two of these teams sit ahead of them in the wild card standings, so this is a great opportunity for Minnesota to gain some ground.

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