I took the family out to their first Twins spring training game of the year out at Hammond Stadium today and it might be difficult to persuade them to go to another Minnesota Twins game this year after watching the Twins debacle against the Pirates. Terry Doyle started for the Twins and he lasted just 2/3 of an inning as the Pirates battered him for 8 earned runs on 7 hits, 1 walk and 1 strikeout. Doyle told reporters after the game “that he could not locate his fastball” but I can tell you that the Pittsburgh Pirates hitters had no problem locating Doyle’s fastball. Finally Gardy had no choice but to take Doyle out and bring in Anthony Swarzak who was treated rather rudely himself as he gave up two more runs. So, after 38 minutes and before the Twins could even pick up a bat, the score was 10 to zip for the Pirates and the Twins walked off the field to a smattering of applause for finally getting the Pirates out.
One game does not a season make, particularly if it is a spring training game in the middle of March but I spent the afternoon wondering if I was at Target Field and it was 2011 all over again. When the final score was posted about 3 1/2 hours later, the scoreboard said Pirates 17 and the Twins 6. The Pirates out hit Minnesota 19 to 11 and the Twins had 3 errors to the Pirates 1. You will have to believe me when I tell you that the Twins had several other plays that could have easily been called errors if not for the generosity of a home town scorekeeper. Outfielders continue to throw to the wrong bases and infielders either can’t make a decent throw to first or end up throwing wildly to first when they should just hold on to the ball. The play of Aaron Bates and Mike Hollimon at 1B was just plain embarrassing and the Twins should do all they can to ensure that Hollimon does not play 1B for his own safety and the safety of the opposing base runners until he learns to play the position. Only Perkins, Capps and Luis Perdomo escaped the carnage on the mound as Doyle, Swarzak, Dumatrait, and Wise were hit around pretty good as each gave up 3 or more runs. It sure looks like Doyle will be wearing a White Sox minor league uniform again soon. I know the score was already 17-6 but Luis Perdomo looked pretty good in the ninth striking out two Pirates and throwing his fastball between 92-94 and then hitting them with a change-ups in the 81-83 range.
Bottom line, the game was just brutal from a Twins perspective and the play of some of the Twins today should make it a lot easier for Gardenhire and Terry Ryan to make some roster decisions when it comes time to decide who will play in AA or AAA this year. Tomorrow is another day.