Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Sour Grapes

The Twins' opener last night in Anaheim provided a deflating start to one of the most anticipated seasons in franchise history. The Twins fell behind early and, while they battled back to tie the game a couple times, in both instances the Angels retook the lead in the following half-inning. Scott Baker struggled to locate his fastball and lasted only 4 2/3 innings while issuing an uncharacteristic three walks, and the vaunted big bats in the middle of the Twins' lineup were for the most part very silent.

Among the few bright spots in the game were Delmon Young, who homered, beat out an infield single and stole a base in the game, prompting numerous premature declarations that his offseason weight loss has truly transformed his game. Jesse Crain's performance was also highly encouraging, as he picked up where he left off in the '09 campaign by tossing 1 2/3 innings without allowing a baserunner.

Unfortunately, the bad outweighed the good last night. Baker, as mentioned, seemed uncomfortable throughout his start. Jose Mijares, who came on in relief in the eighth inning, let the game get out of hand by serving up a pair of homers and expanding the Angels' lead from one to three. Denard Span went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel combined for just three singles.

Of course, the beauty of baseball is that this was only one game and the Twins will have their shot to erase all the bad memories tonight, when Nick Blackburn faces off against Joe Saunders. I'm not particularly optimistic about this match-up, as the southpaw Saunders could present some problems against the Twins' lefty-heavy lineup and I've got real concerns about Blackburn this season, but as they say, games aren't decided on paper.

7 comments:

8th inning guy said...

what are your concerns about blacky?

Nick N. said...

I just have an ominous feeling about him this year. I foresee a 5+ ERA.

Leslie said...

New year, same ol' Twins.

We should saw this coming. The Twins never do well against the Angels. It's been that way since the 2002 ALCS series. Why should things change now? What we saw was all so familiar. The Angels outsmart, outpitch and outhit the Twins last night.

Last night reminded me of the Twins' playoff series against the Yankees. Lack of hitting with men on base, and awful at-bats. Outside of Delmon, no one was good last night IMO.

If it wasn't the hitting ,it was the pitching. Let's stop with the excuse about Baker being jittery. Baker is not an ace. He is a #3 starter at best. It's time for the Twins to stop talking him up as an ace.

Baker once again imploded when a batter has a good at-bat against him. Once Aybar got the best out of him in the first inning, it was all over. Baker lost command of his ball, and he nibbled. He's been in the league for awhile now. At some point, he either figures out or he does not. From what I see out of Scott, that's not his MO.

I felt Blackburn should have started last night. At least, he has the command and control to beat the Angels.

Maybe the Twins wouldn't have won that game anyway. They come up lame against the Angels all the time.

Anonymous said...

Leslie,

Nice job!! I could not have expressed my frustration any better than you did.

Nick N. said...

Leslie and Jack, talk about "sour grapes." It's one game.

Adam said...

I think Blacky will be ok this year. Your bet is on Liriano. Liriano had one really good half season, but what he has been able to give us since then. We could have found someone els to take his place. I really want Liriano and Blacky to both succeed, but Blacky is not a head case like liriano and blacky eats up innings that will save our bullpen. He has also been very consistent as of last year, so this year could be a break out year for him

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