Monday, April 4, 2011

False Start

Twins 3, Blue Jays 13
The 1st inning of the 1st game of the season doesn't count, right? I mean, isn't it just for warmup? No? Whoops.

Blinded by my unwavering confidence in Francisco Liriano's stuff, I overlooked his late-starting and very shaky spring training and started him against the Jays, though he's pitched horribly against them, including yielding 33% of his HR to them last season. Lesson learned. He's already on the bench for his start at Yankee Stadium. I'll play him at home against the Royals.

Anybody wanna get a hit? Thank you, Denard Span. At least somebody around here is rewarding my unwavering confidence in them.

Naturally, after pummeling Carl Pavano and Liriano, the Jays were tamed by Nick Blackburn. Matt Capps came on in the 7th inning to save the Twins from a 2-on, no out situation created by a pair of Jose Mijares BB. That left Glen Perkins for the 8th and Joe Nathan for the 9th. I never thought I'd say this, but I felt a lot more comfortable with Perkins out there.

Great to finally see some signs of life from the offense. Now, if they could just avoid getting thrown out on the basepaths, they might be onto something.

Sunday's 9th inning was such an ordeal that it almost felt like the Twins lost the game. But they did salvage a win, and that was about the best that could have been hoped for in this series. They've finished the schedule in 1st place in 4 of the last 5 seasons, but none of those teams was able to win a series in Toronto, either. Of course, I'd love to see them fair better than usual in NYC this week. But I'm afraid I didn't see anything this weekend to make me think that will happen.

  • Every single MLB team will have at least one series in which they play like crap, as will every single player. Those things are magnified at the beginning of the season, but have no more meaning there than they do in the middle of the summer. So I refuse to draw any conclusions about the team or individual players based on what happened in this series. Let's see how everybody does the next time out.
  • That goes especially for Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who had a fine spring, especially on defense, then looked pretty weak in his debut. He was a rookie playing in his 1st MLB game on Friday. He was nervous. Some guys can control that better than others. He made a couple of mistakes on routine defensive plays that cost the team at least 2 1st-inning runs. But the error he made on Sunday (leading to another unearned run) was a really tough play, sprinting toward the plate, then throwing back across his body all in one motion. We saw Nick Punto make that play a lot, and it can only be scored an error, but just because Nishi didn't pull it off there doesn't mean he can't play 2B. I bet we'll see him get outs on similar plays as the season moves along.
  • I read this morning that Span was considered by the Rockies with the 9th overall pick in the 2002 draft. Pretty cool to think that another team considered him to be a top 10 talent.

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