MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins are tied for last place in the American League Central, but they’re still putting up impressive numbers on the base paths this season.
When Twins infielder Alexi Casilla stole second base in Monday’s game against the Cleveland Indians, it gave Minnesota 118 steals as a team this season. That number is the highest since the Twins swiped 146 bases in 2001.
The 118 stolen bases ties Minnesota’s season total from 1999, which is tied for sixth-most in a season in team history.
The Twins stole eight total bases in the four-game series with Cleveland, including four in Sunday’s 8-7 walk-off victory. In that game, center fielder Ben Revere swiped a pair of bases, while Darin Mastroianni and Pedro Florimon also had one steal each.
“We had a lineup in there with speed,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after Sunday’s win. “Try to move around the base paths. And we did that today and it’s fun to watch. So we mixed in some base hits and got some cheap runs by stealing bases and advancing that way. Ben has been very aggressive and looking for his opportunities.”
For Revere, the two steals Sunday gave him a team-high 36 on the season, which is a career high. It also is the most steals for a Twins player in one season since Otis Nixon stole 37 bases in 1998. Last season, Revere set a rookie record with 34 steals.
With his 36 stolen bases, Revere is currently third among all American League players, trailing only Los Angeles Angels rookie Mike Trout (45 stolen bases) and Rajai Davis of Toronto (41). Michael Bourn of Atlanta has stolen 39 bases.
Revere’s 36 steals put him in ninth among Twins players for most stolen bases in a single season. Chuck Knoblauch holds the team’s single-season record with 62, which came back in 1997.
Power numbers: While Minnesota has put up impressive numbers in the stolen base department, the Twins have also posted some noteworthy home run totals.
Three Twins players have set career highs for single-season home run totals, including Ryan Doumit, whose solo home run in Monday’s win was his 16th of the season. Prior to this year, Doumit’s career high for home runs was 15 back in 2008 with Pittsburgh.
Outfielder Josh Willingham had a career year last season with Oakland, belting 29 home runs. Like Doumit, he set a new career high in his first year with the Twins organization. He currently leads Minnesota with 33 homers.
And third baseman Trevor Plouffe’s power surge in the first half of the season resulted in the 26-year-old hitting a career-high 20 home runs through Monday. In 103 career games in 2010 and 2011, Plouffe had just 10 homers. His 20 homers this season have come in 100 games.
Walking off: Morneau’s walk-off home run in Sunday’s 8-7 win against Cleveland was the Twins’ fifth walk-off win this season. Josh Willingham had the team’s first two game-winning hits of the season on May 29 against Oakland (a three-run homer) and June 8 vs. the Chicago Cubs (an RBI single). Denard Span’s RBI base hit on June 17 provided the walk-off win over Milwaukee, and Jamey Carroll’s sacrifice fly was the game-winner on July 30 against the White Sox.
For Morneau, Sunday’s solo blast was his seventh walk-off hit of his career — five of which have come via home runs. His last walk-off homer before Sunday came June 17, 2007, when he took Brewers reliever Chris Spurling deep to give Minnesota a 10-9 win over Milwaukee. Three of Morneau’s five walk-off homers came back in 2007.
A manager of a different kind: Gardenhire’s main job title is the manager of the Twins, but Minnesota’s skipper manages another team on the side — his fantasy football team.
Yes, even major league managers get involved in fantasy football. Prior to Gardenhire’s postgame press conference following Monday’s game against Cleveland, the skipper had his team’s results up on his computer. Gardenhire needed big games from Ravens running back Ray Rice and Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green on Monday night, but alas, his team couldn’t come from behind to win.
“Those are two good players,” Gardenhire said.
Gardenhire would undoubtedly take the Twins’ 7-2 win on Monday over a win for his fantasy football team.