Rejoice all, it was opening day for the Twins yesterday, and despite the loss to the Angels just outside Disneyland, there are a lot of positives to take home from yesterday's game; in no particular order:
1. Delmon Young was an offensive machine (he practically provided all the Twins' offense and was fine on the field. He hit a two-run home run about 20 rows deep in the left field benches to tie the game at 2, then beat and infield single and stole second base on his way to scoring in a Punto sacrifice fly to shallow center field.
2. Pat Neshek had a great outing. He pitched a scoreless inning facing 4 batters and striking out one. His fastball averaged 87.2 mph (high 88, which is a couple mph less than his pre injury seasons, but it is very early in the season to discuss velocities) and he complemented it with a very effective slider. He would have had a perfect inning, if Cuddyer did not misjudge the ball on the single hit surrendered.
3. Jesse Crain has a suberb outing. He pitched one-and-two-third innings of perfect baseball striking out one. Mixing of pitches (something he did not do well for most part of last season) was the key to his success. He threw 9 fastballs (93.1 mph average, 94.3 max), 7 sliders (83.5 average, 84.4 max), 5 curve balls (74.5 average, 75.8 max). His slider was exceptional.
4. Yes there were some problems, but Denard Span will not usually strikeout 3 times in a game, Morneau and Young will not always leave the bases loaded, Cuddyer will not always misjudge balls and throw the ball wide to bases and Mijares will be effective. Scott Baker is a slow starter (Career 5.45 ERA and 1.335 WHIP in March/April vs. 4.30 ERA and 1.265 WHIP career total.)
5. Those new road uniforms are exceptional
6. It was opening day
7. Losses in opening day do not determine a season's result. Here are how the Twins' teams that made the post season (since the move to Minnesota) fared on their opening days during the times:
2009: Lost to Seattle 1-6
2006: Lost at Toronto 3-6
2004: Beat Cleveland 7-4
2003: Won at Detroit 3-1
2002: Won at Kansas City 8-6
1991: Lost at Oakland 2-7
1987: Beat Oakland 5-4
1970: Won at Chicago 12-0
1969: Lost at Kansas City 3-4
1965: Beat the Yankees 5-4
8. Today is another day and another game. Blackburn vs. Saunders, 7:05 PDT, Anaheim, CA. Be there