Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Finally, Some Offense

The Twins' offense, which has been absent for most of the season so far, came out to play in tonight's 8-4 victory over the Tigers. The Twins scored 5 runs in the first inning off of Detroit starter Jason Johnson, who looked absolutely terrible, and tacked on a couple more runs in the fourth and yet another in the eighth. They could've done a lot more damage, except for that they loaded the bases three times in the game without scoring a single run. In the second, they had the bases juiced with no outs and didn't manage to get a run home. I would be complaining about this with a lot more disgust but I just can't complain about 8 runs. The Twins' starter, Kyle Lohse, was unimpressive in his second start of the season, but pitched well enough to win. Lohse seemed to be settling down at one point, when he struck out four straight hitters, but overall just looked hittable. The bullpen, on the other hand, was terrific. JC Romero obliterated Omar Infante with his changeup, Juan Rincon struck out the side in explosive fashion in the eighth, and despite having his save situation taken away by a Joe Mauer RBI in the eigth, Joe Nathan looked good in the ninth. This bullpen has been exactly what I was expecting it to be so far this season... dominant. Having guys like Jesse Crain and Rincon and Nathan waiting in the wings significantly shortens games. If the Twins are up after six or seven innings, the game is pretty much locked up. Plus, Romero has looked excellent so far, and he was a big concern after a very shaky spring.

Ron Gardenhire must be feeling awfully smart right now. When I saw that Terry Tiffee would be hitting cleanup in tonight's game, I was a little surprised to put it kindly. Sometimes it seems like he just inserts one player for another and doesn't bother to switch around the lineup accordingly, like when Juan Castro hit second in the order while filling in at shortstop for Jason Bartlett. However, the move payed off as Tiffee came through tonight with an RBI double in the first and a 2-run homer in the fourth. I'm finally coming around on Tiffee. For whatever reason, I just haven't felt like he's ready to be on the Major League team, despite the success he had last season in the minors and in his short stint in the Majors. After watching him tonight though, I just can't deny the fact that the kid is a good hitter, and deserves a spot on this team. At this point it looks like he should even be given a chance to challenge Michael Cuddyer, who has been anemic on offense, for the starting third base job.