While I've been busy ignoring my broken computer and pretending that it will fix itself, the Twins have been very productive. They've won 9 of their last ten games, finishing that streak off with a sweep of the lifeless Chicago White Sox. Unfortunately their one loss in those ten games was to the Tigers, a game that, had they won, would have put them just one game behind Detroit. Instead, they now sit an uneasy, but manageable, 3 games back, that looks a lot better when you consider where this team stood in mid-August.
How they've done it is something else altogether. Without Francisco Liriano (for all intents and purposes), Kevin Slowey, and Glen Perkins and minus Justin Morneau, the Twins put together their longest winning streak of the year recently, and have their best record at any point of the 2009 season. It's been largely due to Michael Cuddyer of late, the new relief pitcher acquisitions, and the inconceivable performance of Brian Duensing.
In 30.1 innings as a reliever this year, Duensing had compiled a 5.34 ERA to go along with an unimpressive 20-to-16 K:BB ratio. He also had made one spot start in July that was successful, but at the same time not exactly awe-inspiring. Since he's joined the rotation for the end of the season, though, he's been lights out, giving up just 10 runs (9 earned) in 44 innings. I don't know how he's doing it, and I don't know what it means for his future, but I just hope it can last 2 or 3 more starts as the Twins try to make up the remaining ground on the Tigers.