A Tall Order (Beating The Twins, That Is)
Well, here we are just three games into the 2010 baseball season, and the Twins already look like a much more polished team from the under-achieving gang of ’09. I can only imagine the thoughts that must run through the minds of the opposition:
Opposing pitchers have to navigate through one of the strongest 1-6 in the American League, plus now Delmon Young and JJ Hardy (another homer tonight, along with Justin Morneau) are swinging the bat well, creating quite a Murderers Row, of sorts.
Opposing batters know that, no matter who they face in a series against the Twins (especially if Pavano keeps throwing like he did tonight), there will be no “gimme” games…all five starters give us a chance to win. Add in a deep pen that doesn’t really on just one or two guys to get late-inning outs, and that creates the all-important sense of pressure on every opposing at-bat.
The final blow we administer has been, so far, in an area (closer) presumed to be a gaping hole after the devastating Joe Nathan injury. Well, Rauch has saved two in a row without much trouble (although he did give up a run tonight).
I know I have to keep in mind that, for as down as I was after the season opener, I shouldn’t get too high after two straight wins. But this team just has oh so much potential that it is difficult not to get pumped up when things start rolling.
-Pavano had to pitch out of many jams tonight, but I liked his ability to make the Angels whiff. He’s never struck me as a guy with anything near overpowering stuff, but tonight he really located well and had great ball movement. I’m not as down on him as some, but my knock on him was always that he could compete against the bad teams but get hammered by the good ones. Not this time!
-JJ Hardy showed some great range in the ninth, coralling a ball deep in the hole and firing it to first for the out.
-Had a laugh at something the announcers said tonight after Punto tripled. He’s been pretty good in the last two even-numbered years (’06, ’08), but horrendous in the odd ones (’07, ’09). Kind of like watching Star Trek movies for all you fellow sci-fi geeks out there!
Preview (2-1, 1st, 0.5 GA All): Kevin Slowey (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Joel Pineiro (0-0, 0.00 ERA).