Will the Twins be playing meaningful games in September?
Minnesota entered the break with a solid road trip to Seattle and Colorado to climb to within six games of .500, but the Twins are still in last place in the tight AL Central race. At 44-50, Minnesota sits 10 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit as the second half begins. The Twins are looking to avoid their fourth straight 90-loss season. Even with the additions of veterans Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, Minnesota's starting pitching has been shaky for most of the year. The front office still has hopes that the Twins will be playing meaningful games in the last few months of the season, something that hasn't happened at Target Field since 2010. Plenty of things will have to go right over the next month or so in order for that to happen, but crazier things have happened in the game of baseball.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsChris Humphreys
Brian Dozier's quest to join the 30-30 club.
Second baseman Brian Dozier had a chance to make his first All-Star team this year but fell a bit short. Even though he didn't make the AL squad, he was selected to compete in the Home Run Derby after belting 18 homers -- tying his career high -- in 92 games. The Twins have 68 games remaining after the All-Star break, and Dozier needs 12 home runs and 14 stolen bases to become the first player in franchise history to join the 30-30 club with 30 homers and 30 stolen bases. After no player made the 30-30 club last season, Dozier appears to be one of the likeliest candidates to do so in 2014 -- only one other player, Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen, has at least 15 homers and 15 steals. "Coming into this season, I wanted to steal more bases and keep the power numbers up," Dozier. "It just so happened it is what it is now."
Jeff Roberson/Associated PressJeff Roberson
Can Joe Mauer rebound to finish 2014 on a high note?
It's been a bit of a forgettable season for Joe Mauer, who is playing his first season as the Twins' first baseman after a concussion forced him to give up catching. The hope was that moving Mauer to first base would not only keep him healthier but also help boost his offensive numbers, but neither of those held true in the first half. Mauer entered the break on the 15-day DL with an oblique injury and also missed a few games earlier in the year with a stiff back. On top of that, Mauer is batting just .271 in 76 games, well below his career average of .320. For Minnesota's offense to get back on track, Mauer needs to get back on track, too. Mauer is expected to heat up in the second half and should finish the year batting around .300. After the slow start that he had, however, Mauer has some work to do to get back to that mark.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsKevin Jairaj
Will Trevor May and/or Alex Meyer debut this season?
Twins fans are growing anxious to see their team's top two pitching prospects arrive in the major leagues. At one point earlier in the year, it appeared as if Meyer (pictured) would be the first one to get called up. Lately, though, May has pitched better and more consistently than Meyer, leading some to believe he could debut before Meyer. May is currently 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA in 14 starts for Triple-A Rochester, while Meyer -- rated before the year by Baseball Prospectus as the No. 32 prospect in baseball -- is 5-4 with a 3.43 ERA. Both pitchers figure to be a part of Minnesota's future, and there's a chance the future could begin in 2014. If one or more of the Twins' starters currently in the rotation struggle in the second half, keep an eye out for the arrivals of either May or Meyer -- or possibly both.
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY SportsJerry Lai
If the Twins wind up selling before the deadline, who will be on the move?
It's more likely that the Twins will be sellers rather than buyers before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. One candidate is outfielder Josh Willingham, who is batting just .212 but does have eight homers and 25 RBI in 49 games after missing time on the DL earlier in the year. For a team looking for a right-handed power bat, Willingham could be an option as he's a free agent at the end of the season. Twins RHP Kevin Correia is another possible trade chip. While his numbers aren't impressive (5-11, 4.61 ERA in 19 starts), Correia has pitched much better over the last month following a slow start to the year. The 33-year-old Correia has posted a 2.30 ERA in his last seven starts and could be a back-of-the-rotation option for contending teams looking to add one more starter.