Random thoughts from the Twins' Opening Day game

Not necessarily in any order. Just notes I was making while watching the game:

  • Luke Hughes was the emergency backup Catcher? Say what? I thought that it would had been Josh Willingham who actually caught before. And (I did double check) Luke has played in every position of the field in pro ball (including P) but C.

  • Mauer and GIDP are not a good combination. So are Pavano and his 86 mph "fast"ball, esp when it ends up at the seats.

  • The early innings reminded me a bit of last season when the Twins were making heroes out of no-name opposing pitchers. Arrieta's curveball is pretty nasty thought. Helps opposing pitchers having perfect games through the first time in the order.

  • Nice play by Carroll in the middle of the 3rd. Nice and steady. I don't think that Nishioka makes that play. And then he makes another one

  • Memo to Denard Span: Please please do not get picked off first again. Paying attention helps

  • Good to see Morneau get a hit at the 4th after Mauer hit a rocket to the Centerfielder

  • I think that Pavano's pitching to contact with those soft-tosses will get too old too soon

  • Great diving play by Parmelee on the bottom of the 5th. He is learning

  • Pavano's breaking junk is working better than his (not so) fastball. Got to throw more of that. And nice D play by Valencia. I just hope they come back with a few runs. That sounds like a broken record from last season, I know...

  • Surprise: Pavano does not irritate me any less than he did last season.

  • And that Doumit and Span play was vintage Mike Cuddyer; Carroll is ok with the glove

  • Nice catch and throw out at the plate by Willingham. Revere does not do that (the throwing out part)

  • The Twins look like they are picking up from where they left last season. Not. Too. Good.

  • Burroughs in to PH for Casilla. Lazy fly on the first pitch he saw. Not. Too. Good. Especially with a guy who cannot find the zone. Big mistake to not let Casilla draw a walk there. Even more interesting to see Plouffe instead of Luke Hughes as the Defensive replacement at second.

  • That "close" play at 1st was not even close. Davis was off the bag. Way off the bag. When he caught the ball

  • Jeff Gray reminds me of Dusty Hughes. A lot. Only he is right handed. And Gardy burns yet another pitcher in a meaningless game. And a good one (Duensing.)

  • Good to see that Josh Willingham HR on top of the 9th! Made things interesting. Questionable called strike 3 against Doumit, Parmelee comes through and Plouffe up. Also interesting to see Revere PR for Parmelee. Unfortunately Plouffe hits a double play ball.

  • At little better than it could be. Still disappointing to lose, but let's get the next ones. Tomorrow is another day.

Twins' Opening Day facts

Happy Opening Day to the Minnesota Twins who are starting the 2012 season by playing at the Baltimore Orioles at 3:05 PM local time. Here are some facts about the Twins' opening days of yore:

  • The Twins lost their last 3 opening days

  • The Twins' overall record, since they moved to Minnesota, on opening day is 25-26, so with a win today, they will be back to .500

  • The following pitchers made the most opening day starts for the Minnesota Twins: Brad Radke (9), Bert Blyleven (6), and Frank Viola (4)

  • The Franchise original opening day opponent was also the Baltimore Orioles on 4-29-1901 at the American Park in Washington DC

  • The Twins' Franchise overall record on opening day is 62-49

  • The Twins' Franchise opening day record against the Orioles is 6-1, with the only loss in a 6-7 game in 1957 at Griffith Stadium

  • The only teams the Twins' Franchise has a losing record against on Opening day games are the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox , Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (the only time they played them were of the Devil kind still)

  • Only 5 of the 13 position players (Alexi Casilla, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Denard Span and Danny Valencia) of the Twins' 2011 opening day 25-man roster are on the 2012 roster

  • Only 6 of the 12 pitchers (Nick Blackburn, Matt Capps, Brian Duensing, Fransisco Liriano, Carl Pavano and Glen Perkins) of the Twins' 2011 opening day 25-man roster are on the 2012 roster


Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits

Here is this week's installment:

  • I cannot believe that Spring Training is over tomorrow and that the season begins this Friday. Orioles' Jake Arrieta (of the 5 some ERA and 1.5some WHIP in 2011) was named opening day starter agaist the Twins. Hope that the Twins' bats beat him up pretty nicely.

  • Last November we heard that Plouffe was finally just an outfielder/DH. Unfortunately, Mr Gardenhire decided that "Plouffey" is the backup shortstop as well and he will have a "super utility" role. I think that this is a fairly unfortunate thing to do with one of your worse defenders, but Gardenhire has been doing it for years with Cuddyer...

  • Despite this (which, thankfully, was valid only for the day that was posted), I am happy to see what is probably the strongest openning day bench for the Twins in recent memory.

  • Ron Gardenhire did not crack the top ten in this top MLB managers list.

  • A former Twins' player who has retired a while ago, is still active in his community.

  • Looks like Jason Marquis' seven year old daughter who had a serious bike accident thankfully is doing better and Marquis will return to the Twins shortly.

  • And it looks like Hammond Stadium will be upgraded after all (last paragraph of the linked article.) I hope the Twins give it the Target Field dimensions, because now it is 330-405-330 symmetrical.

  • The answer to the Twins Trivia Contest about who is different that the rest in the Twins' Hall of Fame and Why, was Jim Rantz because he is still in the same position he was Elected in the HOF for. Even though nobody got the why exactly correctly, LeCroy24fan was the first one to get Rantz so he wins a game used bat of former No 1 Twins' draft pick BJ Garbe. Please e-mail me your snail mail address at thetenthinningstretch.at.gmail.com to mail it to you.

  • The new Twins' commercial is a hit

  • The Twins' product of the week, in honor of the new season is a book: 162 - 0: The Greatest Wins in Twins History Would we all love an 162-0 season? :)

The parting shot today is of the most unlikely man to make the Twins' 25-man roster: Sean Burroughs


2012 Season MLB Predictions

'Tis the time of the year for the season predictions. I took a (unpublished) cut on these right at the beginning of Spring Training and then I finalized them today. I actually had to make a few changes based on events that happened in Spring Training and even teams' performances in Spring Training. Here are my predictions for the 2012 Major League Baseball season, including standing for each division, who will win the wild card and who will win the League Pennants and the World Series. Optimism abounds, since everyone (other than the Athletics and the Mariners) are starting with a clean slate:

AL Central:

White Sox

AL East:

Red Sox
Blue Jays

AL West:


AL Wild Cards: Yankees, Angels

NL East:


NL Central:


NL West:


NL Wild Cards: Phillies, Pirates

ALCS: Twins over Red Sox
NLCS: Nationals over Philies

WS: Twins over Nationals in 6.


Breaking: Butera makes Twins 25-man roster as outfielder

FORT MYERS FL. A bit before the seventh inning stretch of today's game with the Boston Red Sox, Twins' manager Rod Gardenhire went to the visitor's clubhouse at the Jet Blue Park and decided to have an impromptu press conference. He announced that, since last Saturday when Drew Butera was optioned to Rochester, Gardenhire has been having severe symptoms of separation anxiety including indigestion, night terrors, flu-like symptoms and other unmentionable things. To that effect, he said, he had to "do right by Drewy". He indicated that he has to "get that cannon arm of his on the field" and he thinks that this Spring Training Drew has shown signs of major improvement at the plate. "He will hit better than Nicky ever did for us this season, write it down", Gardenhire said. He also said, that Drew Butera will now be his starting Right Fielder and will slide in occasionally at Left Field and Center Field. "He is fearless out there, I always liked him and he has deceiving speed". Gardenhire admitted that sending Butera down (or rather pretending to do so) was a ploy to expose the haters and the closed-minded and "them bloggers and commies". Here is an exclusive spy shot of Drew Butera at the Hammond Stadium outfield on a AAA game this afternoon: