Back on the late-evening hours of just a fortnight ago, the Twins were a lowly 56-62, losers of three straight, and a seemingly-crushing 6.5 behind Detroit in the Central.
Welcome to September.
Labor Day will no doubt need to prove eponymous for the Boys to eventually usurp Detroit's 4.5 game lead; however the club has rallied with four consecutive series wins to suddenly become one of baseball's hottest teams, even considering Wednesday's downer loss. The surge can be attributed in no small part to the right arm of ace Scott Baker, my August Twin of the Month.
True, the Twins had a superb mesh of hot bats in August, clipping together a team-best month of .291. Inversely, the staff and pen accrued an ERA of 5.21. If not the Baker's newfound consistency, the Twins could be theming to the tune of "Duensing & Manship = Two Days of Hardship."
After starting his season 2-6 with a 6.32 ERA, Baker -- after going 4-0 in August - now holds a strong mark of 12-6 coupled with a 4.44. The Twins have won 10 of his last 13 starts.
Amidst American League starters for August, Baker ranked in the top-ten in Wins, ERA, and batting average against; more impressively - he ranked 3rd in the A.L. in the sub-stats of WHIP (0.96), Strikeout-to-Walk ratio (5.80), and on-base percentage against (.253).
While the afore-ripped youth of Duensing and Manship have actually displayed some noted grit, it's the buoy of Baker that will be necessary for the Twins to continue their earnest, late-season run. His next start is slated for this Saturday against lowly Cleveland.
In recognition of his award, Scott will receive the complimentary services of an actual Baker, hired and arranged by City Pages to come over to his home on September Sundays and make sticky buns in the dawn hours.
2009 Twins of the Month:
April - Jason Kubel
May - Joe Mauer
June - Brendan Harris
July - Matt Guerrier