Now that he's back at his natural position, shortstop Danny Santana looks impressive.
I think the only question for Danny has always been whether he could become steady. He's clearly got great speed and quickness and range and hands and an arm. So the question is fundamentally, could he adapt -- especially in the big leagues right away -- to being consistent day in and day out on more routine plays. So far, so good. He's been very good. The word on him up until now has been often times his footwork would get a little if not lazy, just not fundamentally sound and it would cause his arm to drop. He made most of his errors on throws because of footwork fundamentals. It looks like he's been really good at that. Hopefully that continues.
Samuel Deduno is back in the bullpen, which could be a good thing for both he and the Twins.
I guess you just don't know how it will work out. He's going to be more of a long guy, someone who comes in when the starter doesn't do as well and they're going to be looking for him to eat up some innings. The enigma about him is he's got that great stuff, but it's just hard to channel. He couldn't be a late-inning guy because of that inconsistency, but he could come in and throw three shutout innings in the fourth, fifth and sixth if a starter falters. You keep looking at that arm and that stuff. If I were manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson, I'd keep looking at that stuff and say, 'We just can't give up on this guy.' It just remains to be seen whether he can channel it for three innings in a long role. At some point in time, it could be that he finds it in that role and he can work back into the starting rotation. But he's got to find it.
The starting rotation is starting to come into form.
Phil Hughes has been great for a while. Kyle Gibson (pictured) has been really, really good for four or five starts in a row. He's been really good at home anyway, and now he's had two phenomenal ballgames on the road. Those guys have just been plenty good. Kevin Correia has been good his last three starts, even though he didn't have his best stuff Saturday. For Correia, it's just command of his fastball, basically. When he's throwing his fastball, the sinker, where he wants to go down or away on the corner for strikes, batters have to swing at it or take it for a strike, then he's really, really good. When he's missing that outside corner with his sinker, then he's just not as effective. He's found that the last few starts. It looks to me like the rotation that they envisioned at the start of the season has a chance.
Glen Perkins showed he can have a short memory, which is key as a closer.
The most important characteristic of a closer is to have amnesia immediately after every game. I think Glen has that. You're not going to do it every single time. I was going to say nobody, and maybe I'd be wrong. Maybe somebody went 40-0 some time in save appearances. Maybe that happened. You know going in on the first day of the season, you know that most of the time when you've got stuff like Perkins has, a good majority of the time you're going to get the job done. There are going to be some of those times that it makes you sick to your stomach when it doesn't work, for whatever reason. The most important thing is to be able to put that behind you immediately and want the ball with confidence the next day. I think that Perkins has that mentality.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsBrad Rempel
Perhaps a bit surprisingly, nobody has run away from the pack in the AL Central.
It's surprised me that Detroit is so vulnerable. I think that's the biggest surprise. Justin Verlander (pictured) is the biggest of the Detroit surprises probably. The fact that with the other teams playing at .500 or worse, for the most part, that Detroit hasn't really run off with it. It looked on paper like they were going to be the class of the division again. I think what that means is that you're going to see this movement and flip-flopping in the standings all season long until August or September when a team or two asserts themselves. But I think it bodes well for the Twins, because I really believe that this lineup at some point in time in the season is going to go through a two or three-week period that everybody in the lineup's hitting at the same time. It's only going to take one of those instances when you get the whole lineup swinging the bat like they can at the same time, and they could reel off 12 wins in 15 games or something like that.