Wednesday, April 04, 2007

B-E Aggressive!

I made the trip out to the Dome to take in last night's Twins game, as fellow blogger and frequent commenter Corey Ettinger was kind enough to bring me along with his season tickets. Corey runs the promising new blog Minnesota's Sports Guys, which is dedicated to all Minnesota sports. They've got a great cast of writers over there and I'm really excited about the site's potential.

Anyway, the game was a lot of fun. The Twins clinched an opening series victory by beating the Orioles 3-2. It was a classic Twins victory, as they fell behind early but scraped together enough one-run innings to retake the lead, and the bullpen was lights-out as usual. Boof Bonser picked up right where he left off in '06, delivering six innings of two-run ball while striking out six and walking three. He struggled to throw strikes at times, as just 59 of his 100 pitches were in the zone, but in the end it was a quality start and he put the team in position to win. After Bonser came out, five relievers combined to deliver three scoreless innings, ending with Joe Nathan pitching a hitless ninth to record his second save.

Daniel Cabrera had a nice outing for the Orioles, allowing three runs on six hits over seven innings while striking out nine. His lack of control haunted him though, as he walked four batters and two of them came around to score.

The big story for the Twins last night was aggressiveness on the basepaths. With seven singles and four walks, the hitters weren't able to move themselves past first base, but the Twins took advantage of Baltimore catcher Alberto Castillo's arm by stealing five times, successful on each try. Torii Hunter drew a walk in the fifth inning, then stole second. He would later score from second on a Luis Castillo single. In the seventh inning, Rondell White drew a walk. Jason Tyner pinch-ran for him and stole second, then came around to score on a Jason Bartlett single.

Aggressiveness on the basepaths is something that I have been preaching for the Twins. They have a lot of singles hitters, but most of those guys have great speed and can move around the bases in many different ways. This is something the Twins should take advantage of. Being aggressive on the bases can hurt you, like it did on Monday night with Justin Morneau being thrown out twice trying to advance, but it can also be a huge help, and it was probably the biggest reason the Twins won last night's game.

The Twins are 2-0 and have looked very impressive in their first couple games. Of course, I've never been overly concerned with the team's ability to win games started by Bonser or Johan Santana. Tonight will be the team's first real test, as they look for a series sweep with Ramon Ortiz taking the hill.

Oh, one last thing. Michael Cuddyer was fanned twice last night, and has now struck out five times in eight at-bats. That puts him on pace for roughly 325 strikeouts on the season. Good ol' K-ddyer.

14 comments:

Jason said...

Hey, speaking of aggressiveness, I was a little worried about the Orioles' Bako last night after the hit. My friends and I noticed he was NOT in the best of shape after the hit.

http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070403&content_id=1877736&vkey=news_bal&fext=.jsp&c_id=bal

Methinks he might need to have a talk with Corey Koskie.

Hope he's ok. Doesn't look as bad as Koskie's injury, but he took a wicked hit, and didn't look too good later when he struck out...He definitely had a look on his face like he was frustrated with his condition at the time.


In any case, good game tonight. It seems like they're adapting quite well with situations...playing small ball when needed, but hitting well sometimes too. Boof sounded like he pitched quite well, and the HR he gave up was a golf shot.

Anybody know if the game tomorrow (Wed.) is sold out? Thinkin about grabbin some GA tickets and buyin $5 worth of $1 hot dogs.

Jason

P.S. - Final food total for my 6' 3", 150lb. self on opening day: 1 steak, 4 hot dogs, 1/2 bag of chips, and 3 beers. I am a bottomless pit.

Nick N. said...

Impressive opening day food intake. Pretty sure tomorrow night's game is not sold out. Tonight they only brought in about 24K.

Corey Ettinger said...

A few things. 1) Thanks a million for the good review, that was awful nice of you. Kristen and I were checking out the pages views for the day (we had like 30 yesterday) and we were already at 14 at 2:30 in the morning. I was quite shocked so I decided to see whee people were coming from only to find out we were getting a bunch of people from Seth Speaks and you guys. Turns out you both gave us some nice ink, what a difference that makes.

2) Castillo's single you mentioned in the 4th paragraph should be in quotes. That wasn't much of a hit.

3) Tyner's steal should be in quotes. It was clearly a belly flop followed by 6 feet of dry land freestyle swimming.

4) You forgot to mention that I called Cuddybear's last strikeout to a T. That deserves a mention because it was downright eerie. At least for me. My ESPN must have really been on.

5) Going 6 innings now qualifies as a quality start? I always thought it was seven innings with three or less runs. Has it been redefined or I have I just always been wrong.

6) Cuddyer's predicted K rate, while maybe a bit below average has improved significantly from our initial projection of 460 in 500 at-bats.

7) I was shocked to learn that C-Bear has taken an average of only 3.13 pitches per appearance... As you know I was ranting about how well I thought his at-bats had been going.

8) You predicted that Mauer had a career 40% CS%. Spot on. 78SB vs 52CS. Also eerie.

9) I did some research that suggests Sidney Ponson would win a hot dog eating contest between himself, Carlos Silva, and Boof Bonser. Most experts agree that his alcohol consumption gives him a larger stomach and therefor an inherent advantage.

Nick N. said...

You forgot to mention that I called Cuddybear's last strikeout to a T. That deserves a mention because it was downright eerie. At least for me. My ESPN must have really been on.

Haha, yeah that was a great prognostication.

Going 6 innings now qualifies as a quality start? I always thought it was seven innings with three or less runs. Has it been redefined or I have I just always been wrong.

It's six innings. Always has been, as far as I know.

I did some research that suggests Sidney Ponson would win a hot dog eating contest between himself, Carlos Silva, and Boof Bonser. Most experts agree that his alcohol consumption gives him a larger stomach and therefor an inherent advantage.

It will also make the resulting vomit that much grosser.

Corey Ettinger said...

So your right about the quality start thing. Corey Patterson still had a respectable year last year, career .297 OBP be damned.

Nick M. said...

Poor J.D. Durbin. Or should I say poor Diamonbacks. In Durbin's first appearance, he allowed seven earned runs against the Rockies, in only 1/3 inning, while walking one and getting on out on a strikeout. Looks like the "Read Deal" flamed out.

http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?gameId=270404127&date=20070404

Nick M. said...

Make that 2/3 of an inning, but not any better. That makes for a 94.50 ERA. Ouch.

Corey Ettinger said...

Ionic, I was just writing about the same thing. Yeah that was damned ugly. We're you watching it or following along on-line, because if you have satellite you can get it on fox sports rocky mountain.

TwinsJunkie said...

Hey Nick, I saw the GameDay piece you wrote tonight. Excellent work my friend

Nick M. said...

Nope, just saw the box score Corey. I was like "That our's JD!" I always go through and check them at night. Man, he just isn't having a good month.

Nick N. said...

Hey Nick, I saw the GameDay piece you wrote tonight. Excellent work my friend

Thanks a lot Trevor. Much appreciated. I look forward to meeting you on Saturday.

Corey Ettinger said...

Yeah he is, but I suppose I don't feel that bad for him. He's made a fine living and had the opportunity to play baseball for a living. Thats not so bad. Besides, if he can ever learn to control his curve, he could still be good, but he's getting quite long in the tooth.

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