Just a quick set of thoughts from Opening Day.
Denard Span and Joe Mauer went a combine 1 for 9 with 4 strikeouts. (they both got contract extensions this spring) frustrating but what can you do.
Opening Day Starter Scott Baker threw 31 pitches in the first inning and gave up 2 runs. He then gave up a home run to a guy who is a career .192 hitter of rightys. At the beginning of the year I said Baker was not as bad as he was last year but not as good as he was in 2008. What can you do.
When Delmon Young took a pitch on the inside half of the plate I was shocked that the one pitch Delmon has taken in his life was one he could crank. 2 pitches later Jered Weaver threw a fastball in the same spot and Delmon jacked it for a 2 run home run. In 4 at bats he got 2 hits and also stole a base. I am optimistic but in those 4 at bats he saw a total of 9 pitches.
Jesse Crain got 5 outs to keep the team in the game. He was throwing a fastball that was low to mid 90's paired with a good slider. My issues was that from what I saw you knew when he was going to throw his curveball.
Orlando Hudson was hit in the knee by a pitch and my stomach was in knots when he fell to the ground. Luckily he got up, chatted it up and played great defense all night. Interesting sequence when he hit a double over friend Torii Hunter's head and then proceeded to talk about it to Hunter, when he was standing on 2nd, Jered Weaver took offense to that and made it clear to Hunter how he felt. Of course no one can really be mad at Torii Hunter and Orlando Hudson because they are just to cool of guys.
The Twins left 14 men on base, including 2 situations where Delmon Young and Justin Morneau had the bases loaded with 2 outs. Again baseball statistics say base runners lead to runs. The odds of the Twins going 0 for the season with runners in scoring positions close and late is less then Jose Mijares weighting 250 pounds by September.
Speaking of Mijares, he left 2 meatball, breaking balls up in the zone for Matsui and Morales. Those two pitches were crushed. I know its the first game, but its the second year he has showed up to camp out of shape and late, and he has had "vision problems" during the spring. Not saying they are related to not giving up batting practice to the Angels, but what I am saying is it is something to pay attention to.
Tonight, Nick Blackburn will take the hill for Minnesota against Joe Saunders.
Blackburn is career 0-3 with a 5.72 ERA against the Angels
Saunders is career 3-1 with 4.10 ERA against Twins
Again its a new season, but these numbers were similar to last nights starters Scott Baker and Jered Weaver and we saw how that played out.
Keys to winning for Twins are always, throw strikes, don't walk anybody and keep the ball down in the strike zone.