Twins' streak fruitless in Central race

Twins' streak fruitless in Central race

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins backup catcher Mike Redmond can recall many times during his early career with the Marlins that the Atlanta Braves went on some long double-digit winning streaks.

And it was during those stretches that the Braves made their surge toward the National League East Division title.

"I remember Atlanta pulling a good stretch of games off in a row and going from two games up to 12 games up," Redmond said. "That was a run they seemed to make every year."

It would seem that such streaks would lead to making significant runs in a division race, but that is not always the case, as the Twins are proving now.

The club has put together what can only be described as a torrid winning spell over the past couple of weeks, winning 16 of its last 18 games. The Twins currently have won seven straight games and six straight series.

But as to how it has affected their place in the American League Central division?

Since the winning stretch started on June 8, the Twins have gained a total of a half-game in the division race. Entering their game in Seattle on that day, which they won 7-3, the Twins trailed the Tigers by 11 1/2 games to remain in third place. And now, after having lost only once at home and once on the road during that stretch, they still trail Detroit by 11 games and trail the White Sox for the Wild Card by 8 1/2 games.

"It's unbelievable that you could have three teams playing that well all at once, especially all three of us being in the same division," Redmond said. "It's really unbelievable."

It seems to be the sentiment taken by most of the Twins as they continue to roll on their recent hot streak. With Detroit and Chicago on similar winning streaks as the Twins, there doesn't appear to be much movement going on in terms of raising their place in the standings.

"That [stinks], doesn't it?" Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of the club's inability to gain ground. "It's nice when we keep doing it, but the other guys keep winning, too. You can't do anything about it."

The Twins are running off one of their most impressive stretches since the 1991 Twins won 15 straight en route to their World Series title.

Almost everyone in the clubhouse is left shaking their heads. "The way we're winning, I don't think I've seen anything like this," Torii Hunter said. "I've surely never been a part of anything like this. We're kicking people's butts and I'm loving it."

During their recent streak of winning 15 of 16 games, the Twins have also swept four of five three-game series against teams like the Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers.

"I've been telling people that never in all my years of baseball, I don't think I've been a part of a stretch this long," Redmond said "It's tough to sweep teams and that's just what we keep doing."

"Streaks are really amazing, but I don't know if this is a streak anymore," Gardenhire said. "I just think we're just playing great baseball."

And while many of the Twins admit that it's difficult to look up at the scoreboard every night and see the other two teams ahead of them in the division continue to win ballgames, it's something they aren't dwelling on too much.

"We know that we still play those teams quite a few more times," Redmond said. "That's the thing about playing each team 19 times. It's a true test and the team that wins the division is usually the best team.

"We're not seeming to make any ground right now, but we can't control that. All we can do is keep this run as long as we can. And man, this is fun."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.