Monday, March 31, 2008

Twins 162-0, Gomez MVP, Hernandez 35-0

If nothing, the first Twins game of the season was exciting. In Minnesota's 3-2 win over the soon-to-be 2008 World Champion L.A. Angels of Anaheim, California, Monday night the fans learned a few things about this version of the Twins:

  • Carlos Gomez is, if nothing else, entertaining;

  • and sounds exactly like Tony Olivia in a post-game interview;

  • Torii Hunter was never really great in big pressure situations -- particularily in the playoffs or first games back in his old stadium;

  • Livan Hernandez is more entertaining to watch than his virtual statistical twin Carlos Silva;

  • Hernandez is a far cry less exciting to watch than Johan Santana;

  • Joe Mauer is now officially the best in the league at a "productive out" (according to Dick Bremer), and we should look forward to a season full of him grounding out to second base in order to push Gomez over to third. Ugh;

  • Justin Morneau is nowhere near in a groove;

  • Delmon Young is no Lew Ford (thank God!);

  • Craig Monroe looks to be no Rondell White (thank God!);

  • and, Michael Cuddyer looks just fine out there in right again.

In all reality, it would be best if Gomez could pop off two games a week like Monday's this season (2-for-3, 2 runs scored, a double, 2 stolen bases, a bunt hit, and--gasp!--a walk). He has Cristian Guzman's speed with the baserunning ability of Rod Carew. That's a nice distraction if he can get on base somehow.

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Another Thought ...

No doubt the Twins will struggle desperately due to lack of consistent starting pitching (how long do YOU think it'll be before they offer a contract to 45-year-old David Wells?). The bullpen is strong enough to take games from the sixth inning on and Joe Nathan should be great again, but what can we possibly expect of this rotation?

That pitching issue is a big one, but the real problem with this team is lack of bats off the bench.

On Monday with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Twins brought in Jason Kubel to pinch bloop-hit for Monroe. He singled to put men on first and third, which made the Angels intentionally walk George Herman "Bab" Lamb to load the bases. This brought up Brendan Harris. When your team is up one run on a team as good as the Angels, it's time to pinch hit with some pop instead of sending up Harris and Adam Everett. But who to use?

Nick Punto was already off the bench, pinch-running for Kubel (damn that was a tiring single to run out). Mike Redmond was a possibility, but he had to be available if Mauer got injured or the game headed for extra-innings. All that was left was someone named Matt Tolbert, our new light-hitting utility infielder (hey, isn't Punto already on the roster?). My thinking from the bullpen is there is a need for one more hitter capable of hitting higher than .200 off the bench.

Enjoy the quest for the perfect season.

1 comment:

Jimmy Olichwier said...

I totally agree about Mauer. You'd think with his ability, he might, you know, drive the ball somewhere instead of worrying about moving the fastest guy in the majors over from second to third. Nice way to sacrifice an out. I'm leaningn toward the Baby Jesus sucks camp.