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4/17/09

looking between the lines: the first three series in the books.

The Twins finished their first three series of the 2009 season and are sitting with a 4-7 record in the 4th place of the AL Central, having won a single game more than the Cleveland Indians. This is a disappointing start, and all the parts of the team (Starting rotation, bullpen and bats) have contributed equally. Let's look closely, trying to pick possible glimmers of hope:

  • This team is 2 games behind of the 2008 team, when the Twins were 6-5 after 11 games. On the other hand, in 2008 in their first 3 games at Chicago, they also went 1-2, in their first 4 home games with Toronto they went 0-4 and in their 3 home games with Seattle they went 3-0. Based on those individual series breakdowns, the 2009 Twins are keeping pace with the 2008 Twins who won 88 games. And they are doing in without Joe Mauer, who is slated to return as early as the Cleveland series next week, after starting rehabilitation with the Ft. Myers Miracle next Monday

  • Crain and Nathan can anchor the back of the bullpen. Despite the fact that the other members of the bullpen have struggled, Crain and Nathan have been performing great, when they got the call.

  • Morneau is up to a great start. He is hitting .341/.348/.568 with 2 home runs and 8 runs driven in and if he continues close to this pace, he will have another MVP year

  • Span has been the Span of 2008 and not the Span of Spring Training 2009. He has been hitting .293/.408/.390 and leads the team in stolen bases with 3. If he continues close to this pace, he will provide the team with a reliable pace setter

  • The rotation will rebound, and the rebound has already started. Liriano pitched like the August of 2008 Liriano yesterday and not like the April 2008 Liriano. Perkins has been brilliant in his 2 starts. I am confident that Blackburn, Slowey and Baker will be back to form soon; hopefully the first two as soon as the Angels series starting today. Part of it might be the inexperience of Morales in calling a game. With Morales behind the plate, opponents bat .337/.388/.546 off the Twins' pitchers. With Redmond behind the plate, opponents bat .256/.315/.422 off the Twins' pitchers. This suggest that with the upcoming return of Mauer, the pitching numbers will improve, since in 2008 opponents had practically the same OPS against Twins' pitcher with either Mauer or Redmond behind the plate.


Position Player MVP of the series with Toronto:

Justin Morneau
17 AB, 8 H, 3R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K



Best Pitcher of the series with Toronto:

Glen Perkins
8 IP 7 H 2 ER 1 BB 4 K

2 comments:

Marv said...

Sadly, I was at the game last night. Here is what I saw:
Halladay began almost every batter with a strike. Early in the game, Liriano started less than half the batters with a strike. This led to Liriano throwing a lot of pitches and not really looking that sharp. Nonetheless, he managed to keep the hottest hitting team in baseball to 1 earned run over 6 innings. In the 6th inning, his last, he had two strikeouts. Very encouraging.
Gardy put Breslow out on the mound and even after he walked the first batter I saw no one warming up in the bullpen. I thought maybe he was finally going to give Breslow a chance to pitch to several batters (Guerrier already had the Twins down 4-1 at this point). Maybe Gardy is going to get away from treating Breslow like a LOOGY. Of course, he'll have to pitch better than he did last night.

The bullpen cannot really be this bad. Things will get better.

Also - Morneau & Cuddyer hits were REALLY well hit. At least one of Buscher's, too.

thrylos98 said...

Marv,

Thanks! This is interesting about no-one warming up after Breslow's first pass. Do you think that Dickey had enough time to warm up or was he cold when he entered the game? Buscher was alright last night.