Twins’ Cruz better than ever at age 40

Nelson Cruz, Twins designated hitter (⬆️ UP)

Cruz is 40 years old. Forty. And he’s looking better than ever. Through four games, Cruz is batting .412 (7 for 17) and leads MLB in homers (3) and RBI (10). During Sunday’s 14-2 win over Chicago, Cruz went 4 for 5 with two homers, two doubles and seven RBI. No other player has tallied more than seven RBI the entire season. Sheesh. Cruz is the centerpiece of arguably the scariest lineup in baseball.

 

Crystal Dangerfield, Lynx guard (⬆️ UP)

Selected in the second round (16th overall) by Minnesota in the 2020 draft, Dangerfield entered the season as the Lynx’s only pure point guard on roster. We’re not expecting her to have as big of an impact as fellow UConn product Napheesa Collier had last season, but Dangerfield’s professional career is off to a great start. With Minnesota behind by nine points at the half in Sunday’s season opener, Dangerfield came alive in the second half and scored 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting to lead the comeback.

 

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Rocco Baldelli, Twins manager (⬆️ UP)

Baldelli must chuckle to himself every night he gets the opportunity to fill out a Twins lineup. In the second game of the season, Max Kepler batted eighth. And on opening day, Luis Arraez – a legitimate contender for the AL batting crown — was batting ninth. Baldelli’s lineup is so stacked it is almost laughable.

 

Max Kepler, Twins outfielder (⬇️ DOWN)

Kepler is trending down? Slightly. He began the Twins’ 2020 campaign by homering on the first pitch he saw and added another dinger later in Minnesota’s 10-5 victory. But since that game, Kepler has just one hit in his last 13 plate appearances. Claiming any player in the Twins lineup is trending down is nearly preposterous, but if we had to choose one, Kepler is it.

 

Ron Gardenhire, former Twins manager (⬆️ UP)

Hey, at 3-2 the Detroit Tigers are over .500 on the season! Good for Gardy. We’ll see how long it lasts …

 

Vikings defensive line (⬇️ DOWN)

Michael Pierce, the prized offseason acquisition by the Vikings in free agency, opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. Pierce was expected to be Minnesota’s replacement for Linval Joseph up the middle. It’s a big loss for the Vikings defense, which ranked 13th against the run last year.

 

Sylvia Fowles, Lynx center (⬆️ UP)

Fowles etched her name in WNBA history Tuesday night when she surpassed former Lynx star Rebekkah Brunson as the league’s all-time leader in rebounds with 3,357. She finished the game with 15 points and 11 rebounds, good for her second double-double of the young 2020 campaign.