April 10, 2009 – The main idea behind this web site is to write about Twins/Senators history but now and then I will continue to write a little about the present day Twins, I just mention that because I don’t want you to get upset with me that you don’t see me writing daily about how the Twins are doing. Having said that, I still want all of you to keep coming to www.Twinstrivia.com to check and see what might be new on the site today.
I obviously follow the Twins closely and attend about 20-25 games a year and we were out at the Dome on Wednesday and saw the Twins beat the Mariners 6-5 from our regular seats down the first baseline right next to the visitors bullpen. What seemed a little odd to us this year as we looked back towards the infield was how bright the lights seemed to be, I am not sure if they upgraded the wattage or just adjusted the lights but it can be painful looking towards the Twins dugout as the lights seem to shine directly in your eyes.
The Twins won the middle two games and lost the first and last game to what appears to be a bad Mariners team, and Seattle didn’t even have Ichiro in their line-up. When you consider how lucky the Twins were to win game 2 in the bottom of the ninth against Seattle closer Morrow who I think will become a very good closer, Twins management can’t be too happy with the Twins start at home in 2009.
I dislike having to play what I consider to be bad teams at the beginning of the season because these so called bad teams don’t think they are bad this early in the season and they play as if they can win. A bit later in the season these bad teams know they are bad and give up once they get a few runs down or wait for something bad to happen which will cause them to lose. On the other hand, if you play against the good teams early on, I think the opposite happens, they are nothing special right now but as the season progresses they gain confidence and know that they are good enough to come back against any deficit, it is just a matter of time before they take the lead and win the game.
Twins hitting after four games is below average with Morneau, Crede, Gomez, and Punto all hitting .200 and under and no Twins hitter has more than 4 hits. Cuddyer, Crede, and Gomez are striking out at a furious rate and to be honest I don’t expect that to improve very much. Crede I expect to strikeout a lot, some goes for Gomez as he learns to hit in the majors but I expect Cuddyer to do better than he has so far.
Twins pitching is about where I expect it to be at this point in the season with an ERA of 4.25. I think Liriano, Slowey, and Blackburn can all pitch better then they have so far, I think first game “jitters” hurt them all and I would expect better performances from them as we get to their second and third starts. The Twins miss Baker but hopefully they can get him back next week. Outside of Nathan the bullpen has been nothing to brag about but hopefully they too will pitch better in future outings.
I fear that the Twins outfield situation will be a constant source of irritation as Gardy tries to shuffle 4 or 5 outfielders and give them all playing time. You can already sense Gardy’s frustration when he is asked who is playing in the outfield “today”. I was absolutely sure that the Twins would trade Delmon Young before spring training ended but it didn’t happen and now I think the Twins will pay the price. An uncertain line-up causes problems, maybe not today, or tomorrow, or next week, but it will cause problems down the line, mark my words. The Twins are paying Cuddyer too much money to sit him plus he is a very good right fielder so he needs to play. Span is the lead-off hitter and he needs to play. Gomez is the exciting and talented center fielder that is the crown jewel in the Santana deal and why would you hinder his development, so he has to play. Now and then Gardy will put Kubel in left just so he remembers how to play outfield when it comes time for inter-league play. That leaves Delmon as the odd man out, sure, he is not complaining now, but the season is less than a week old and he is waiting and watching to see how things develop. Span had a terrible spring and that had to give Young hope for more playing time but now that the season has started, Span seems to have picked up his hitting and he is on the plus side of .300. As the days progress Young will become more and more disenchanted with his role on this team and he will let Twins management and the media know about his feelings about riding the bench. The problem the Twins and GM Bill Smith have is that the longer they wait and the more disenchanted Delmon becomes because of a lack of playing time the lower the return will be for this young outfielder that many feel still has great potential. The Twins and GM Smith put themselves in this box and they need to find a way to get something of value as quickly as possible for Delmon Young whom they had to part ways with Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett to acquire. Right about now I would take a top notch set-up man and a minor league pitcher to two for Delmon and send him on his way, there is such a thing as addition through subtraction.