Twins First SeriesPublished 7:36pm Sunday, April 3, 2011
The Twins season is only three games old of a 162 game schedule so any analysis now might be a tad too early. But since we have become a society of over analysis I will give a few impressions of the first series with Toronto. I will not do this after every series but for now here goes.
-Toronto is a good team. They have good young pitchers and can hit the heck out of the ball. It is too bad they are in the division they are in but I don’t think the East is as good as it once was.
-I get to say a kind of “I told you so” on something that I wrote in my last blog. I said the Twins infield may have a communication problem for awhile with Nishioka at second base and they have. I expect it to improve though so I am not too worried, but there are some things that need to be done right as soon as possible.
-Speaking of Nishioka, he played like a guy who was nervous and he said he was. But think about it a minute, you are playing in a different country, different culture, different language, and you have the eyes of all in Japan watching your every move, not to mention all the Minnesota eyes.
-I like the way Toronto hitters approach their at bats. They are there looking for their pitch and then when they get it hit the heck out of it. They have been very successful with it so far.
-I caught a few innings of some other games this weekend along with the Twins series. In watching those games I see that the strike zone hasn’t gotten any bigger. I suppose now that steroids is out of the picture and they say it has gone back to a pitchers game, the zone will never go back to the way it is suppose to be.
-Twins hitters have been struggling and some, including Gardy, has said it is because of injuries keeping them from getting at bats in the spring. It is funny but a couple of years ago when Mauer didn’t play in the spring he had his MVP season. It was thought then that spring at bats weren’t important, now they are. Of course this is Joe Mauer and not Joe Ordinary.
-I was a little surprised that Mauer wasn’t in the lineup on Sunday. I know back to back day games and all that, but the Twins really needed a win on Sunday and luckily they got it. I was more surprised that Gardy didn’t pinch hit Mauer in the 8th I think it was, when Buetera came up with runners in scoring position. I figure Mauer could have caught the last inning without much harm.
-I enjoyed it when Dan Gladden came into the booth in the last part of the game. It would be fun to have those three there the whole game all season. Gladden and Jack Morris are a little more blunt on the radio broadcasts than Dick and Bert. But Dick and Bert are there for the casual fan to have their entertainment more than the guys on radio. I do here Bert talking about poor pitching location more than he has, something Morris did all last year. Its about learning how to pitch which is controlling the strike zone and coming way inside more often to brush hitters back.
-The Twins may be struggling at the plate but one guy isn’t. Denard Span three games into the season looks like he did a couple of years ago. That is a good thing. Way to go Denard.
-The bullpen looked ok at times and then not so good other times but once the starters start going farther in games and the bullpen can get into some kind of rhythm I think they will be ok. I don’t think Joe Nathan deserved the save as much as Matt Capps and Glen Perkins did. Those two guys looked great on Sunday.
_Speaking of Joe Nathan, he scares me to death right now. He used to be so automatic in the situations like Sundays game. Right now I don’t have a lot of confidence in him but I am not saying that I won’t get it back, but he needs to earn that confidence. He did nothing on Sunday to help me have confidence. Actually I was scared when he came into the game and reminded me of how I felt when LaTroy Hawkins came into a game.
-I thought Nick Blackburn pitched good for his first outing. He has proven in the past to be a steady pitcher and that is what he was on Sunday. Pavano I’m not too worried about and actually I’m not worried about Liriano yet. I don’t care how long you play the game those first game jitters hits everyone.