Coming off three straight American League Central titles, the Minnesota Twins were highly favored to make it four straight, but injuries and a struggling offense resulted in a third-place finish, 16 games behind the eventual World Series champion White Sox. After starting out strong with a 15-8 record in April, it was a downhill struggle the rest of the season.
The pitching, highlighted by All-Stars Johan Santana (16-7, 2.87 ERA, 238 strikeouts in 231 2/3 innings) and Joe Nathan (43 saves in 47 chances, 2.70 ERA), kept the Minnesota Twins in games. However, no other starter won 10 games as former ace Brad Radke and Carlos Silva each posted nine victories. Jesse Crain ranked second in wins with 12 and posted a 2.71 ERA out of the bullpen.
Offensively, Joe Mauer led the team in batting average (.294) in his first full season, while Jacques Jones hit a team-leading 24 homers, but finished with a .249 average. Justin Morneau belted 22 dingers despite hitting just .239. Matt LeCroy chipped in with 17 homers in part-time duty.
One of the biggest injuries the club suffered was when Torii Hunter, who carried the offense most of the year and finished with 14 homers, 56 RBIs and 23 steals, went down with a fractured foot on July 28 at Fenway Park. The injury all but sealed the Minnesota Twins' fate, as they were several games back at the time. Despite being limited to just 98 games, Hunter took home his fifth consecutive AL Gold Glove Award for his stellar play in center field.