Thanks to Nick Blackburn and Jason Kubel, the hold that the Yankees had over the Minnesota Twins may have been broken.

Going 2-4 against the reigning World Champs, although not as great as we had hoped, is significantly better than the 0-10 of 2009.

Blackburn was the benefactor of three Kubel home runs that resulted in the two victories over the Bronx Bombers.  

As the Twins say good riddance to the Yankees, at least until the inevitable matchup in October, they can focus on ten games against the American League West.

Having already won the opening series of the season at Los Angeles three games to one, the Twins look to get healthy feasting on the AL West.  

A quick glance at the AL West standings may have one thinking they are inverted.

The Seattle Mariners, with the off-season additions of Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins, were early favorites to contend for the AL West title, yet find themselves in the last place.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, perennial powerhouse and winners of five of the last 10 AL West titles, are currently in third.

That leaves Oakland, three games above .500 in second, and only a half-game behind the division-leading Texas Rangers.

Yes, the first place Texas Rangers—a position they’ve held so far for 25 days this season. That’s almost half the 65 days they led the division last season before finishing second, falling 10 games behind the Angels.

Since 2002, the Texas Rangers have only been in first place a total of 218 days—that’s seven of 50 months over eight full seasons of baseball.

This is unfamilar territory for Texas, in a year when the AL West appears to be much weaker than in years past.

Since Ron Gardenhire took over the Twins in 2002, they have been in first a total of 518 days, the equivalent 17 months; more than three times longer than that of the Rangers. 

During this span, the Twins have five division titles compared to none for the Rangers.

The timing could not be better for the Twins, who after losing yet another series to the Yankees get a chance for some redemption against the current AL West leaders.

Following the three games at Target Field with the Rangers, the romp through the AL West continues with a seven game road trip against the Mariners and A’s.

The Rangers, Mariners, and A’s just don’t carry the same sense of intimidation that the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox did on the recent road trip.

Include the fact that Gardenhire has a winning record against the AL West in his career, and the timing seems perfect for the Twins to regain some of their swagger lost over past 10 games and pad their lead in the AL Central over the Detroit Tigers.    



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