First place! Twins sweep Red Sox, improve to 10 games above .500

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Coming off four straight 90-loss seasons the Twins were projected to finish in last place by nearly everyone, myself included, but instead they have the second-best record in the American League at 28-18 after finishing off a three-game sweep of the Red Sox today.

Since a brutal opening week of the season in which they went 1-6 and were outscored by 33 runs the Twins are 27-12 with a run differential of plus-54 and they’ve won 23 of their last 32 games. And first-year manager Paul Molitor has them tied for first place in the American League Central, which seems almost impossible to believe after watching the past four seasons.

I wrote a lengthy article on my Twins-centric personal blog about how they’ve been winning so far, but the short version is great hitting with runners in scoring position, Glen Perkins being perfect in the closer role, and the starting rotation going from historically inept to merely sort of bad. If you want the long version, there are 1,200 more words here. As a lifelong Twins fan I have no idea how long it’ll continue, but whatever. Beats the hell out of looking ahead to next year’s draft already, no matter what.

Marlins give Don Mattingly two-year extension

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The Marlins have announced that they have inked manager Don Mattingly to a two-year contract extensions. There’s a third year in the form of a mutual option.

Mattingly is finishing up the final year of the four-year contract he signed with the Marlins prior to the 2016 season. He’s 272-364 in that period and the club has lost 99 games already this season. The current bad run, however, obviously corresponds with a massive rebuild the team began undertaking following the 2017 season and the team’s change in ownership. Mattingly has not had much to work with over the past two seasons but he has likewise, largely, kept the team on as even a keel as one could hope under the circumstances. He has certainly impressed the Marlins’ brass enough to take the unusual step of keeping on a manager they inherited from a previous ownership and front office group.

In other news, the Marlins also announced a two-year contract extension for shortstop Miguel Rojas valued at $10.25 million. There’s a vesting option for a third year. The deal buys out Rojas’ final year of arbitration eligibility and one year of free agency, plus that option.

Rojas, 30, is hitting .285/.335/.383 (OPS+ 92) this year.