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Twins might be MLB's biggest surprise; critics can 'eat those words'

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The Twins go into this week's All-Star break with 49 wins, the most the team has had at the break since the 2008 Twins won 53 games.

After four consecutive seasons with at least 90 losses – and another 90 or so projected for the summer of the 2015 – calling the Twins a surprise might be a bit of an understatement.

But is there a bigger surprise in Major League Baseball? The Houston Astros? Perhaps the Chicago Cubs?

Those are great stories, but the Twins have made a strong argument, Bleacher Report says.

Bleacher Report gave Brian Dozier the Twins' first half MVP and called Kyle Gibson their Cy Young.

Awesome Twins stats at the break

Nick Nelson of Twins Daily has all the juicy details right here, but check out a few of his shocking stats about the Twins at the break.

  • Glen Perkins is on pace for 51 saves
  • Dozier is on pace for 35 homers and 122 runs
  • Joe Mauer is on pace for a career high 658 plate appearances
  • Torii Hunter is on pace for 25 home runs

Hunter: 'critics can eat those words'

"A lot of those critics can eat those words," Hunter said, according to the Star Tribune. "We went out and proved a lot of people wrong. We had sheer will, like I said earlier, just to go out there and grind everyday and prove people wrong that we're a winning ball club. And now we're starting to believe it in here... and be consistent about it."

An ovation for Dozier

Manager Paul Molitor rewarded Dozier for his impressive first half of the season on Sunday when he took a break in the middle of the ninth inning to send in a defensive replacement for Dozier. It allowed the remaining crowd at Target Field to give Dozier a standing ovation in recognition of his All-Star season, the Pioneer Press reports.

Dozier was named a replacement player for the American League All-Star team on Saturday, just one day after he lost out to Kansas City's Mike Moustakas in the Final Vote.

Dozier's week included a pair of walk-off homers, including a tremendous three-run blast to cap a seven-run ninth-inning rally to beat the Tigers on Friday.

Molitor's magic

Judd Zulgad of 1500 ESPN took a look at how Paul Molitor's managerial style resembles Tom Kelly's and not Ron Gardenhire's. Zulgad says Molitor's "attention to detail" has helped turn the Twins into one of the most resilient teams in the big leagues.

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