Wednesday, April 05, 2006

First Impressions

The Twins opened their season last night, as for some reason, they had to wait an extra day to start the season. But facing Roy Halladay remained an issue. There were a lot of things to notice throughout the game, though, other than Halladay's continued domination of the Twins (He's now 5-0 against them in his career). A few notes on the Twins' 6-3 loss to Toronto:

* The offense for the Twins was provided mostly by Shannon Stewart, who went 3 for 4 with a home run, and Tony Batista, who managed to do the only thing expected of him by hitting a home run.

* The Twins managed a meager five hits, the other being provided by (gulp) Juan Castro. Let's hope that the Twins really aren't relying on those three for offense.

* The Twins left nine runners on and two in scoring position, as only Rondell White managed to do anything with a runner in scoring position, hitting a deep-fly to center in the first for a sac fly. White did what was expected after his signing, which is doing well with runners on.

* Not much can be said for the other middle-of-the-order guys. White went 0 for 3 and all together, Mauer, White, Hunter, and Morneau went 0 for 15 with 4 Ks.

* For some reason, after Hunter flailed away at a Ryan slider to reduce the Twins to two outs in the ninth, Gardy didn't pinch-hit for Morneau and left him in to embarrass himself against one of the toughest lefty-on-lefty pitchers in the bigs. I realize the game was essentially out of reach, but I felt bad for Justin. That's a bad indication, although obviously there aren't too many choices on the bench anyway.

* Johan started well, having a solid first inning and a 1-2-3 second, before running into trouble in the third and giving up a two-run homer to Bengie Molina in the fourth. His control wasn't great, he gave up 10 hits in only 5 2/3 innings before leaving with a couple runners on. He only struck out three and appeared to have a poor feel for his change-up. It was thought that Santana would come out of the gate on a roll after his good outings in the World Baseball Classic, but he appears to have the same issues he has each spring. That could be bad news for the Twins, who have an April schedule filled with tough matchups and desperately need to get off to a good start. Hopefully they can bounce back with some easier pitching matchups in the remainder of this series and then play well in Cleveland this weekend.

* Juan Rincon looked better than advertised (word was he wasn't ready and his control was erratic), as he got Santana off the hook coming into a bases-loaded situation in the 6th with a strikeout.

* Jesse Crain did not look so good. He exhibited bad control and his fastball, though hitting 96, was awfully straight and he was lit up with a two-run Alex Rios home run in the eighth which essentially put the game out of reach for good. I'm worried about what Crain will be able to do and I think Anderson probably shouldn't try to keep him as a groundball pitcher when his tendencies put him as a power guy. In the minors, Crain dominated everyone. Obviously, that doesn't translate, but that low K-rate could be a serious issue soon.

* The Roy Halladay choice for AL Cy Young looked pretty good for Nick Nelson last night. It was the usual kind of Halladay line: lots of innings, good amount of Ks, a run or two, and little or no walks.

Hopefully, that middle of the lineup looks a little better tonight, when they face off against Josh Towers with Brad Radke getting the start for the Twins.

6 comments:

Kris Richardson said...

Hopefully the lack of offense had more to do with Roy Halladay than it had to do with our lineup.

Nick M. said...

Hmm yeah well honestly I was happy with three runs considering the guy's ability. However, that doesn't excuse the impatient hitting and lack of quality at-bats. Although, clearly Johan wasn't on his game.

Jeff A said...

Agree with you about Morneau in the ninth. T.K. used to say that the manager's job was to put people into situations where they had a good chance to be successful. Gardy certainly didn't do that for Morneau.

Anonymous said...

How have things been? I see the Twins opened their season, bet you're pretty pysched about that Mr Twins Fanatic.

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