The Minnesota Twins didn't have high expectations going into the 2014 season. However, at 15-17, and after taking two of three on the road against Detroit last weekend, the team is proving they are moving in the right direction. 

In even more optimistic terms, the Twins are only 5.5 games back of first place. In fact, the Tigers have four more wins than Minnesota.

The pitching staff has been led by Phil Hughes, who was signed in the offseason from the New York Yankees. Hughes is 4-1 with a 3.92 ERA. Kyle Gibson has shown promise, too. The righthander started 2-0, but since his last win in mid-April, two of his starts haven't lasted more than three innings (one start was a no-decision and it went seven innings). Free agent acquisition Ricky Nolasco is still looking to find his stride, as he is 2-3 with a 5.64 ERA. Other than that, the Twins are trying to find balance in the other two spots after Kevin Correia (seven starts, 1-4, 6.34 ERA), and Mike Pelfrey (five starts, 0-3, 7.99 ERA) have struggled.

The bullpen has had to pitch a lot of innings with a mixed bag of results. Glen Perkins in the closer role has 10 saves, and Casey Fien has pitched well with a 3-1 record and 2.35 ERA. Brian Duensing (0-1, 1.69 ERA) and South Dakota State standout Caleb Thielbar (2-0, 1.69 ERA) have been rock solid, too.

Hitting-wise, Minnesota is getting contribution from unlikely role players. Recently, in seven games, Danny Santana has a .421 average, and eight hits.  Eduardo Escobar is hitting .333, and has 21 hits in 24 games played. Catcher Kurt Suzuki is having a nice first season with the Twins. Suzuki has a .300 batting average, 30 hits, and 24 RBI's in 29 games. The biggest surprise is Chris Colabello, who has been clutch at the plate driving in runs. He's hitting .250, has 13 runs, 35 hits, four home runs, and 30 RBI's. The only player to have more hits is Joe Mauer with 36. Mauer is hovering near .300 with a batting average of .298.

The Twins now set up for a six-game homestead beginning Tuesday with the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. Today is an off-day.

What do you think? Have the Twins exceeded your expectations so far in 2014?

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