Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Twins Take Series From KC But End On Sour Note

The Minnesota Twins have opened the 2010 season taking the first 4 series of the season from the LA Angels of Anaheim, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals. The Twins are 9-4 and have taken the first 4 series for the first time in franchise history. The Twins are second in the AL in runs scored and 5th in team ERA.

Even with the hot start there have been rumblings from a specific group that this team is still not good enough. The Twins have not knocked in the big run, yet. However that should not be a sign to point to negativity. Minnesota is 3 for 19 with runners in scoring position. Well with even with that the Twins are projected to score 860 runs this year. So when watch out for when the weather gets warm and Mauer, Morneau and Kubel start hitting home runs. We should be more excited about other pitchers dealing with our line up then worrying about our pitchers dealing with the rest of the AL.

Their is no reason to be negative though. I would rather go the route the Twins are going then pitching and defense. If we look at the teams that have decided to go the route of pitching and defense this year, we can see that they clearly suck at it. The Red Sox and White Sox have been getting blown out of the water, because they decided to bring guys like Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre, Juan Pierre and Mark Teahen in, with anticipation that guys like Alex Rios and David Ortiz are going to produce. They have not. And efficiency wise the Twins have better defense then them anyways. What I am trying to say is, pitching and defense helps you in the playoffs. Offense is what gets you there. And once you get to the playoffs, the pitchers kick it into another gear that we never see. (ex Pavano and Blackburn last year)

So what happened this weekend. The Twins overwhelmed Zach Grienke in route to a 10-3 win. Scott Baker looked great again. Game 2, the Twins offense got rolling again, but Nick Blackburn struggled and Orlando Hudson had to mash a bomb to left field that hit the facing of the deck. I have yet to see a ball hit there and I have already ruled it the most impressive home run hit in Target Field to date. Game 3 was a mess. The Twins had multiple opportunities to blow the game open early. But Carl Pavano had a horrific 2nd inning giving up 6 earned runs. They were able to make a comeback and cut the lead to 7-5 but Jesse Crain gave up a bomb to Alberto Callapso that busted it open.

Twins Up:
Scott Baker: continues to pitch well at home. He went 7 strong innings giving up 2 runs and not walking a batter while striking out 6. He will make his next start against Cleveland.

Micheal Cuddyer: might be made for Target Field. He is hitting .375 with 2HR and 9RBI so far in the 6 game home stand.

Denard Span: got off to such a bad start on the road that he has hit .381/.552/.524 at in 6 games to just run his average up to .245. Span is getting on base now at record pace. When you can say you can get on base over half of the time in the past 6 games, that is what I call a table setter.

Twins Down:
Nick Blackburn: has been getting roughed up lately. The Twins have given up 13 home runs this year and 6 of them belong to Captain Blackbeard. He needs to really get the ball down in the zone. I am still jumping back and forth whether the $14 million dollars dealt to him will look like a mistake. Especially with the Twins deep farm system (Gibson, Gutierrez, Bromberg all a year away from the majors). Blackburn's ERA is over 6 right now.

Carl Pavano: came back down to earth Sunday. He gave up 7 runs and 11 hits in 3.1 innings which shot his ERA from 1.2 to 4.96. This is what we get from Pavano. Remember this guy had a season ERA over 5 last year and 4.6 with the Twins. Games like this will happen. He is the number 5 starter who just happens to pitch 3rd in the rotation. That will be made apparent as the season goes along.

Jesse Crain: is making me nervous. But I hate when people call him Crain Wreck. When he pitches with the lead he thrives. When he is pitching from behind, he has given up 6 runs in less then 2 innings. Needs to start limiting those base runners after giving up 5 hits and 2BB in his last 2 outings.

Up Next: The Twins host the Cleveland Indians (6-6) tonight for a 3 game set. The Indians have been hitting very well after sweeping the White Sox. I said at the begining of the year that if they were going to win they would have to rake. And so far they have with help from pitchers David Huff and Mitch Talbot (who?) who already have thrown back to back complete games. When looking at the pitching names the series favors the Twins but the three guys going for Cleveland have done very well to start 2010.

Tuesday at 8:10 ET: Justin Masterson vs Kevin Slowey
Wednesday at 8:10 ET: David Huff vs Fransisco Liriano
Thursday at 1:10 ET: Mitch Talbot vs Scott Baker

Side Note:
NFL Draft is Thursday Night. I have been to 2 NFL Drafts in my time and have to say it is a blast, especially because it is free to go as long as you stand in line in front of Radio City Music Hall from 2AM to 7AM. I do not like how they are trying to take it to prime time. It is already one of the most watched sporting events every year with out really having sports involved.

The Vikings have the 30th pick. The past 4 years I have loved the picks Minnesota has made. Chad Greeway, Adrian Peterson, trading for Jared Allen, Sidney Rice, and Percy Harvin are all Pro Bowl talents. This is a unique year. The Vikings should have won the Super Bowl because they dominated New Orleans but somehow had 6 turnovers and lost in OT. Vikings have a list of needs. I think Brett Favre is coming back, but I would welcome Jimmy Clausen if the Vikings wanted to trade up. If they traded down to to take Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow, I would not mind that either. However they have some work to do on defense. Most likley situation would be if they take either a corner of a safety. I personally love Taylor Mays. He reminds me a lot of the late Sean Taylor. But with injuries to EJ Henderson, Cedric Griffin that might tap into the season and the age of Pat Williams and Antione Winfield, the Vikes have some work to do.

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