MINNEAPOLIS -- After rolling through a cupcake schedule over the last 10 days, the Minnesota Twins are prepping for some much tougher competition amid what many are considering the biggest week to this point in the season.
With the Atlanta Braves in town for a three-game series, and the Cleveland Indians next in line for a four-game set, the Twins understand what’s at stake, even if they won’t come out and say it.
“Sure. If that’s what people want to call it,” first baseman C.J. Cron said in response to this being the biggest week so far. “Our job is to win games no matter who we’re playing. We will let the fans and the media pick apart our series. We just want to win games. This will be a good test. We are just going to approach it the same as we always do.”
Asked if he and his teammates are scoreboard watching with the Indians steadily gaining ground in the American League Central standings — three games back prior to Monday’s action — Cron noted how the Twins try to keep the focus more on themselves.
“We have put ourselves in a good position where if we do what we need to do, and take care of business, we kind of control our own destiny,” Cron said. “We are ahead of them right now. We aren’t a certain amount of games back where we need them to lose. We just need to play our game and win games and win series and the rest of it will work out.”
It’s easy to see where that mentality comes from when talking to manager Rocco Baldelli.
“It is going to be a fun week,” Baldelli said. “We are going to play some real competitive games against teams that we know are going to show up and be ready to go.
“We focus on doing whatever we have to do today to put ourselves in a spot to win and we will worry about tomorrow, tomorrow,” Baldelli added. “You can read about things and talk about things and have a good conversation about the week or the month or whatever. If we don’t take care of business the day we’re sitting here, nothing else really matter.”
Adrianza always ready
Ehire Adrianza has emerge as a super sub of sorts this season for the Twins, playing pretty much anywhere the team needs him to.
That has helped immensely as Baldelli has worked to give certain players days off amid the grind of a grueling 162-game schedule.
“He’s been a great member of this group,” Baldelli said. “We have thrown him out there — he’s not out there every day, he might not start a few games, then we put him out there — and even against some of the most competitive pitching in the league he will go out there and something and win a game for us. We have seen it numerous times from him.”
Arraez in the outfield
Luis Arraez has been a pleasant surprise for the Twins this season and that might be putting it lightly. He has patrolled various positions in the infield and has even filled in admirably in the outfield despite having little to no previous experience in that realm.
“It says a lot about the trust that we have in him,” Baldelli said. “You don’t say, ‘Let’s try this guy at shortstop.’ Or, ‘Let’s try this guy at second.’ You don’t do that. You do say, ‘Let’s try this guy in left field and see if he can handle it.’ You never know until guys out there. You just don’t really know until they play. Luis has proven to be able to go out there and make the plays.”