Friday, April 17, 2009

Son of a Pitch; Angels Preview

Since I last posted, the Twins have gone 2-5 against the White Sox and Blue Jays. Not only have they gotten off to a decidedly dubious start, but they were obliterated in four of the five losses. By a total of 35-5. In four games. FOUR GAMES. Did I mention we gave up 35 runs in four games?

I want to toss out a quick qualifier… I know stats are bloated and ugly (or so pretty that it must be a mirage) early in the year, but when your bullpen rolls out the red carpet for the freaking Blue Jays in the Dome, it's time to mention a few things.

At a Glance:
  • In his profile on, Luis Ayala has a big ol' smile on his face, but that's probably the last time he shot anyone a grin. The guy is supposed to be our link to Joe Nathan, but instead has given up four earned runs in his past 3 1/3 innings and filled the bases with nine runners over the same span. I think we all knew he wasn't going to be a miracle worker, but even Eddie Guardado was better than that last year.
  • Against Seattle and Toronto, last year's Kevin Slowey could have been expected to keep us in the game and probably win one of the two contests. This year's Kevin Slowey gave up 24 hits, 1BB and 10 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings (2.205 WHIP and 7.94 ERA) against those mediocre lineups. Granted, the Twins left him in vs. Toronto for far too long, and he's already given up four homers (on pace for 60+... lol) after allowing only 22 last season. The fact of the matter is that he'll probably get a whole lot better.
  • It just seems like piling on to thrash Nick Blackburn, if only because he's our projected no. 5 starter, so I'll be nice. Despite his horrible statistical start (11 IP - 18 baserunners and a 1.6 k/9), Blackburn hasn't been the worst starter on the team. I think that's as good as I can do for a compliment.
  • And it's always a blast when you long reliever - in this case, Phil Humber - can't get anyone out. In his 4 1/3 innings of work this season, he's already given up six earned runs. And, of course, the runs don't bother me as much as how they're scoring… he's allowed 13 baserunners already, and if you're looking for an example of "playing with fire", he's exhibit A. Luckily, the Twins designated him for assignment today and signed Juan Morillo (horrible pitcher - has ZERO control with 55 walks in 59 innings of Triple-A ball in 2008) off a waiver claim..
The good news is that Francisco Liriano looks really solid and that Glen Perkins - despite the fact that the Twins' bats have collectively flipped him the bird in his first two starts - has dominated the competition. So let's all take a big breath and get a little perspective: we're 11 games into a 162 game season, and Joe Mauer isn't even back yet.

Speaking of Mauer, news broker earlier this week that he'll start a minor-league rehab stint next week, and try to return in about 7-10 days after that, barring a setback. He's been running without pain, and adding his bat into our lineup could be the fresh wind we need to get a little more consistent in our run production.


Starting tonight, the Twins face the Los Angeles Angels for three games at the dome. The Angels are 4-5 on the season and are pretty banged up… Vladamir Guerrero is going to miss some time with a pectoral strain, and he'll most definitely miss the entire series… also, John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar and Ervin Santana will miss the series as they battle back from early-season injuries.

Friday's Starters: Nick Blackburn (0-1) vs. Dustin Moseley (1-0)
Saturday's Starters:
Kevin Slowey (1-0) vs. Darren Oliver (0-0)
Sunday's Starters: Glen Perkins (0-1) vs. Shane Loux (0-0)

We all know about the Twins' streaky hitting thus far, and it's showing up in the stats, which is extremely convenient if you're a blogger. The team is no. 9 overall in hits, but aren't getting anyone home. They already have eight GDPs without Joe Mauer (ground into double play), they're third-to-last in the league in home run rate (1 homer for every 53.3 at bats) and have just 39 runs - good for no. 20 in the majors.

That's all for now. I'm writing tomorrow about our horrible hitting outfield. Something for everyone to look forward to!

Enjoy the game tonight - hopefully it's more than batting practice for those Anaheimers. Peace.

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