Friday, April 9, 2010

Twins Take 3 of 4 from Angels

When the schedule first came out, we all knew we were going to know what the Twins were made of early on in the season, as their first 10 games were against teams that have made the playoffs in at least one of the last 2 years. The Twins were able to bounce back from opening day rough up to take three in a row from AL West Champ the LAA Angels most notably last night a 10-1 romping behind 3 home runs from Brendan Harris, Jim Thome and Delmon Young. Twins won their first series in LA since 2002. Through 4 games, the starting pitching had looked solid, but could improve. Scott Baker was very shaky in his first outing only going 4.2 innings and Kevin Slowey was hit pretty hard last night although he was able to control damage in the 5.1 innings he pitched and only gave up 1 run.

Twins Up:
Carl Pavno: Seemed to pick up right where he left off against the Yankees in the post season. Pavano went 7 strong innings giving up 1 run, and striking out 6 in route to his first win of the year. Pavano scattered 6 hits and did not walk a batter.

Jesse Crain: Crain pitched 2.1 innings in the 4 game set. He only gave up 1 hit and struck out 4. His fastball was 92-95 with last movement and his breaking pitches baffled batters last night as he struck out Kendry Morales, Juan Rivera, and Howie Kendrick to retire the side.

Delmon Young: Delmon did not have 2 home runs until June 29th in 2008 and June 20th in 2009. He got 2 this year on April 8th. Delmon also has 4 hits in 12 at bats. He has not taken a walk yet which leaves him with one of those rare occurrences of when a batting average is higher then his OBP. But he has driven in 6 runs already, scored 3 himself, stole a base and only struck out once.

JJ Hardy: Hardy may have found his stroke back. He cracked 2 home runs this series. In addition to going 5 for 16, Hardy was great with his glove at shortstop and has a cannon for an arm.

Alex Burnett: Burnett made his major league debut last night as a 22 year old in his hometown of Anaheim. His stuff looked good in his 1,2,3 innings throwing 90-92 with a good change up and potential for a plus breaking ball. Burnett made a case that he may be ready for some more high pressure situations.

Twins Down:
Orlando Hudson: Hudson hit .176 to start out year. He played a pretty good 2nd base although their were 2 instances where he could have made great plays but just misjudged flight of the ball. Hudson got hurt on a couple instances, when he was struck in the knee cap by a pitch in game 1 and then last night seemed to either got a stinger in his neck or possibly a concussion sliding into second base and hitting his head on Howie Kenrick's knee.

Scott Baker: Baker just never got going in his start on opening day. He threw 31 pitches and gave up 2 runs in the first inning. He gave up a long home run to a guy who is a .192 career hitter against righties (Jeff Mathis). Baker walked 3 and struck out 3 in his 4.2 innings of work and never seemed comfortable.

Denard Span: Lets just say he has looked ugly. Span who had a fantastic spring is only hitting .063. Ron Gardenhire had not helped the cause by taking the bat out of his hands on a few instances forcing him to lay down sac bunts.

John Rauch recorded his first 2 saves of the year. He gave up a run in the 9th when the Twins were up 4 to 1 to cut the lead to 2 but did not fold.
Jose Mijares got rocked on opening day giving up HR to Morales and Matsui. But bounced back in game 4 as his stuff looked nasty.

Up Next:
The Twins head to the South Side. Number 5 starter, Fransisco Liriano will make his long awaited return to the mound. A few months have felt longer then when he came back from Tommy John in 2008. Liriano will be opposed by John Danks of the White Sox. This game is a huge test for the 26 year old lefty (Liriano). He has dazzled in winter and spring ball. Now its time to put it all together for Minnesota.

Liriano is career 0-3 with a 7.52 ERA against Chicago
Danks is career 4-5 with 5.42 ERA against Twins

Other Notes: Joe Mauer will get tonight off after a long flight and 4 games caught. Orlando Hudson might get the day off as well. With a left on the mound in Danks, Brendan Harris might get start at 3rd and Nick Punto will start at 2nd. If that happens interesting to see who will hit second tonight.

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