DETROIT -- Tigers shortstop Adam Everett isn't surprised that the Twins are the team that's making a late-season charge at Detroit's division lead.
Everett admits he didn't expect the Twins to win 11 of their last 13 contests to put themselves two games behind the Tigers heading into this week's critical four-game series between the two clubs at Comerica Park. But having spent all last season with Minnesota, the shortstop said he knew the team was very capable of playing the type of baseball that it has over the past two weeks.
"It doesn't surprise me, not the way they put runs together and the way they can play," Everett said. "We had been keeping an eye on them, saying, 'OK, it's not enough,' and then the next thing you know, they've put this win streak together. We haven't been playing bad, but they have been playing better."
Everett was a part of the relatively young 2008 Twins club that forced a one-game tiebreaker with the White Sox for the American League Central title. And a big reason Minnesota was able to even force a tie was due to its three-game sweep of Chicago in the final week of the season.
That series did take place at the Metrodome, and this year the Twins are facing the situation on the road. But Everett knows that Minnesota has been through a pressure series like the one it will face in Detroit this week. He credited Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau and the way they carried themselves on the field as a big reason the Twins were able to make that late push at a division title.
That's why he finds it even more impressive that the Twins have rallied without Morneau in the lineup over the past two weeks.
"What [Michael] Cuddyer has done has really impressed me," Everett said. "He's basically taken the team on his shoulders and carried them. There is Denard [Span] at the top, and getting [Orlando] Cabrera has been huge. Mauer is Mauer. Cuddyer and [Jason] Kubel, they've been great for the team all year. Delmon [Young] has been playing great.
"But those guys are baseball players. That's basically the best compliment I think I can give them. ... You look up and down the lineup and it's just unbelievable how well they've started to play."
Although it's Everett's Tigers who head into this series with the two-game lead in the division and their magic number at six with seven games left to play, the shortstop feels it's the Twins who will be playing with less pressure on them.
"I think it's much easier coming from behind, as far as that's concerned," Everett said. "They are coming in with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Every time you are in first place, either you win it or you lose it. So our team has to come ready to play."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.