1. It doesn't get much better than the 2014 MLB All-Star Game at Target Field
The Derek Jeter tribute was wonderful. The way Jeter played was wonderful. It was (pretty fitting). The game itself was terrific, almost like a passing of the baton to Mike Trout to showcase what he can do. The showcase of the Twin Cities was phenomenal, the ballpark and the surrounding areas. I thought it was as good as baseball gets.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY SportsJeff Curry
2. Because the Twins lack power this season, leadoff man Danny Santana's production must re-increase
The reason that he was so important is because the Twins aren't hitting the ball out of the ballpark with any regularity. They've got to run around the bases a lot, and he was doing that. When you don't hit the ball out of the ballpark, all your guys have to be healthy and swinging the bat well. You've got to have five guys swinging the bat well, because it's hard to string four or five hits together. If you're hitting singles and doubles, you're gonna need five hits to get two or three runs. I think that Santana coming back is a big one, but I still think ... the fact that Josh Willingham wasn't a power guy this first two-thirds or however far we are in the season has been the biggest deal. Oswaldo Arcia has struggled. The guys they thought could hit the ball out of the ballpark just haven't done that.
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsJesse Johnson
3. Phil Hughes isn't slipping. He just needs to tug at the strike zone's corners more often
I think he matches up better against some clubs than others, and I don't see an awful lot of difference. All the games he hasn't pitched well ... it hasn't looked sloppy. He's going along fine, and then he gets ambushed and then all of a sudden it's two or three to nothing and you go 'boy, I thought he was doing fine.' I think before, he was pitching around the perimeters, the zone, a little bit better. The only thing I saw Saturday (five earned runs on 11 hits in seven innings), was he just didn't have his fastball. I was down there behind the on-deck circle in the camera well and I was going 'holy cow, that doesn't look like his fastball.' I looked up on the board and he's throwing 90, 91. That just wasn't him.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsChris Humphreys
4. With a 0-2 start to a pivotal 10-game homestand, the Twins (44-52, 5th in AL Central) are sliding into dire straits once again
I think the ideal scenario is that they win each of the three series. If they do that, at a minimum, they're going to gain three or four games on .500 and they're right back in it. They start getting guys healthy and start swinging the bats well, you don't know what might happen. They have a lousy homestand and they're 10, 12, 13 games under .500, then general manager Terry Ryan becomes a seller. They need players; at that point in time, they just need to stock up on young players.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsBrad Rempel
5. Being a selling position this year would be particularly disappointing given Minnesota's personnel moves aimed at improving now, not later
They thought with the two pitchers (Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco) that they got that they would give them a chance to win every time out, and if all the hitters just did sort of what they expected, they'd be a good ballclub. None of that has really panned out. I think they're happy with their investment in Hughes with the way he's pitched, and I think they're probably happy with the progress that Kyle Gibson's making. He's got a ways to go. ... It just hasn't been, what looked like on paper, they might have.