Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Right Foot Forward

Twins 3, Angels 2

Just the way they drew it up! This Twins team, like so many in the recent past, has been built to win 3-2 games. Tonight's win came thanks to some of the new faces. Notably:

Carlos Gomez
By the end of spring training, I was used to thinking that Gomez was out once he got two strikes on him. I credit him for, first of all, taking a strike in his first AB, and especially for getting a 2-strike double in the first (thanks also to Weaver for hanging a slider). We know when he gets on, he's going to steal, and can possibly beat a throw even if it's a pitch-out. He might have drawn two walks in this game had he had the discipline to lay off a 3-2 slider in the 7th.

Livan Hernandez
After one game, Livan has matched Santana in IP and ERA. His sinker was working well, and he moved the ball around, changing speeds. It helps that the Angels aren't a particularly patient hitting team. He got hit pretty hard the second time through the order, but Hunter's line-out double play saved him, and kept the damage to just 2 runs in the 5th. This does make me hopeful that he can have a solid start to the year, and his trade value will be reasonably high at the beginning of summer.

Delmon Young
2-4 with a run scored and a steal, and nearly threw out Chone Figgins at second on a double into the LF corner. If a speedster like Figgins only barely beats Young's throw, I think we'll see a lot of other guys just settle for singles. Young is going to have to quit hacking at the first pitch, though.

Some other quick thoughts:

Mauer did a great job in the #2 slot, advancing Gomez every time he was on base, with an RBI single in the 1st and groundouts in the 3rd and 5th.

Neshek and Nathan were both terrific, each allowing only a cheap 2-out hit. 1-0 when leading after 7 innings.

Great to see the Twins steal 4 bases. I don't know why the aggressiveness they showed at the start of last season, when they stole 19 bases in a row, faded over the course of the year. They're more likely to win when they run the bases like that.

Pretty good defense from everybody.

I don't expect these performances night in and night out. But it's a nice start.

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