What we learned from the opening road trip of the 2011 season:
1. At least early on, the Twins a bit overmatched on the road. We are still very competitive (especially if our starting pitching cooperates), but lag in one key area: our “high flies” settle just before the warning track, while the home team jacks them out. Until our power threats (Morneau, Young, Kubel) starting swinging the lumber, we are at a big disadvantage. Thome is fine, though.
2. Our pitchers are going to give up home runs. Period. Not a one of them (besides maybe Liriano) is all that great at keeping the ball in the ballpark. Thus, we better not walk ANYBODY to put extra bodies on the basepaths. Target Field helps, but we still play 81 on enemy turf.
Oh yeah, and now Matty Tolbert will likely be the everyday 2B-man for awhile because of Nishioka’s broken fibula:
Preview (2-4, 5th, 2.0 GB CWS/CLE/KCR): Brett Anderson (0-0, 1.50) vs. Carl Pavano (0-1, 15.75). Home Opener!!
Alright, Twins starting pitchers, who’s going to be “the one” to step up and give us a really quality outing. I don’t care if it IS against the Yanks. It’s got to start happening. Baker? Duensing? Will you be the first?
Preview (1-2, T-3, 1.5 GB KCR): Scott Baker (0-0, 0.00) vs. Ivan Nova (0-0, 0.00).
No, I’m not giving up after two games. What I’m saying is this: The Twins better get used to facing these kind of bats in April and early May, as they will be seeing a lot of them (our AL East run comes early in ’11).
Either we start pitching better, start mashing the ball ourselves a little bit, or we will dig ourselves a potentially very large hole in the opening months.
Preview (0-2, T-3, 2.0 GB CWS): Blackburn (0-0, 0.00) vs. Cecil (0-0, 0.00).
Yep. The above video is pretty much what the Twins/Blue Jays opener looked like last night (minus the cartoon beeps and boops, although they wouldn’t have been out of place). Except it was the Jays doing all the home-run smacking, just like they did against us last year.
It’s always a stinger to lose on Opening Day, but the season is long. Last year, we lost to the Angels in Game 1 and then took the next three.
Hopefully today, Frankie Liriano can MISS some bats instead of hitting them.
Preview (0-1, T-3, 1.0 GB CWS): Francisco Liriano (0-0, 0.00) vs. Kyle Drabek (0-0, 0.00).