What better way to describe the series between the Twins and the Yankees so far then to look at some basic numbers:
18-3: Score by which the Yankees have outscored the Twins in two games.
4: Yankee home runs, compared to zero for the Twins.
11-for-62: Collective hitting for Twins batters, which amounts to a pitiful .177 batting average.
Clearly, it hasn't gone well so far. Last night's game included the Yankees' incredible lineup destroying Boof Bonser as well as Dennys Reyes while the Twins less-incredible lineup looked absolutely clueless for a second straight game. Bonser gave up seven runs, six earned, in 4 1/3 innings, while getting no help from Jason Bartlett. Bartlett has looked lost at the plate, going 1-for-20 so far this season, but even more concerning are his trouble on defense defense, as he his fourth error last night to help the Yankees build their lead.
Ron Gardenhire appeared to lose patience with Bartlett, having Jason Kubel pinch-hit for him (and deliver the Twins' only RBI on the night) then replacing him at shortstop with just-called-up Alexi Casilla. There is obviously no way of knowing if Gardy is making any permanent moves, but it is looking like Bartlett may have a short leash again with Casilla on the roster.
In terms of pitching, Bonser wasn't too great, but much like Ponson, he did quite well for three innings and was beat up in the first and the fifth. You can't be too harsh considering the lineup they are facing. However, I am definitely worried about Reyes. He looked like he had no control and left plenty of balls over the plate when he came in to pitch the ninth, giving up four hits and three runs. Reyes has already given up five earned runs in three innings this season, which is highly troubling considering that was the total number of earned runs he allowed last year.
It is awfully hard to replicate a 0.89 ERA, but if things keep up, Reyes is going to be a lot worse than even the most pessimistic fans could have expected. I hope he doesn't make the Twins look bad for giving him a two-year extension, as it seemed very smart when they did, but his lack of control and the way hitters have knocked him around so far is definitely alarming.
With the way things are going, its hard to imagine that Ramon Ortiz will be able to stop the Yankees' juggernaught lineup tonight. Mr. Nelson looks forward to ranting about it tomorrow if the Yankees sweep the Twins. Looking on the bright side, it won't be as bad as the 33-1 run differential in the Detroit sweep last April, but at least that debacle took place on the road.
On a separate note, despite last night's atrocity of a game, there is some good news for Twins fans. I want to make mention of the latest positive developments in the Twins' quest for a new stadium. In an early February post, I discussed what appeared to be a crisis for the Twins stadium regarding the land it was going to be built on. I suggested that the most likely option for the Twins to pursue to get the land was the use of eminent domain power by the government.
This is precisely what happened yesterday, after a 4-2 vote by the Hennepin County board approved the eminent domain process, with the site's purchase price being worked out at a later time. By doing this, the Twins and the state should be able to begin putting things into motion within a few weeks. It would appear that the biggest hurdle in the the way of the stadium has been bypassed. Twins fans should now be able to rest easy and look forward to a watching snowy outdoor baseball in April 2010.