Twins roll on

After losing 11-0 last night to end yet another long winning streak, this one eight games, the Twins came back today with Liriano and won 3-1. Just as impressive as Liriano striking out 10 in five innings of work was the bullpen which utterly shut down the Indians for the final four innings.

The Twins bullpen is statistically the best out of all 28 teams. Liriano and Santana are the best one-two starters in baseball by a long shot. Things are looking good, except for the last two spots in the pitching rotation. If Silva and Baker continue to fail, look for minor league phenom Matt Garza to appear in the big leagues, even though he started the season in the very low minors. The Twins are leery of bringing up young guys to quickly, but necessity might prevail over caution.

This is the most sustained roll a Twins team has been on since June of 1991. They are firing on all cylinders. And six weeks ago everybody, including me, was saying that the season was over and it was time to clean house.

Gardenhire is showing boldness and familiarity with the capabilities of his team. He is trusting his bullpen, something he hasn't in the past. Saturday, when he pulled Silva in the fifth inning and treated the inning like it was the ninth, using Lohse and Reyes to get out a righthander and lefthander, Gardenhire showed instincts worthy of Tom Kelly. He knew that the Twins lead of six runs was anything but secure and that the game was on the verge of flying out of control. His moves worked.

A startling statistic: In the past four years, the Twins have a record of 257-3 when they have led after eight innings. That means only three games have been lost in the ninth since 2003

Jeff Reardon and Ron Davis used to lose that many games in the ninth in a bad week!

Just to sum up, Twins fans are privileged to watch:

--the most exciting starting pitcher to come along in years, Francisco Liriano

--the best starting pitcher in baseball over the past three years, Johann Santana

--the best hitting catcher in baseball, Joe Mauer

--the sweetest swing in baseball, Joe Mauer's

--the best stopper in baseball, Joe Nathan

--the wierdest pitching motion in baseball, Pat Neshak

--a player with Pete Rose intensity on the basepaths, Nick Punto

--the best backup catcher in baseball, Mike Redmond