March 25, 2012; Jupiter, FL, USA; Coaches watch as Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn (53) warms up prior to his start of a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
They're still in last place, sure, but the Minnesota Twins are playing their best baseball of the season. They're 9-3 over their last four series and could build on that with this week's visit from a fellow last-place team, the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Twins are riding their best stretch of the season, and while that stretch still hasn't been good enough to move past the Kansas City Royals, it has at least been a nice respite from the early-season woes.
Minnesota has taken two out of three games in each of its last three series -- and in the one before that, they swept. By contrast, the Twins won just a single series in all of April. They bottomed out in late-May with a 15-32 record.
Since then, though, it's been gravy -- at least relatively speaking. And with the Phillies coming to town -- they're in last place themselves -- things could get better yet.
Minnesota, now 24-35, will start Nick Blackburn on Tuesday. Blackburn had an 8.37 ERA in mid-May before heading to the disabled list. He returned last week and had perhaps his best outing of the season: 5.0 innings, two earned runs. That's nothing to brag about, but like the team as a whole, he may be moving in the right direction.
The Twins enter this series 8.5 games back of the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox and just 0.5 back of Kansas City.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 Central.