Well after all the excitement, conjecture and apprehension the Minnesota Twins 2012 season is finally underway; and in the blink of an eye, the Twins are 0-3. 0-3, oh no, time to panic! Not so fast. Despite the Twins lackluster efforts in their opening series against the Orioles (more on this in a minute) let us not jump on the complaining and whining bandwagon. The Red Sox are 0-3; the Yankees are also 0-3. The last time the Yankees were 0-3 was 1998, guess who won the World Series that year? This is not to say that the Twins are currently of the same caliber as those teams, nor is it to say that opening weekend wasn’t incredibly frustrating, but it is just three games.
Perhaps the most irritating aspect of the last three days is that the Orioles never really looked in danger in any three of those games. Unfortunately the Twins came out of the gate the way they crossed the finish line in 2011, with so-so pitching, and incredibly poor hitting.
True to 2011 form the Twins are already struggling with some injuries, with Scott Baker being on the DL with shoulder tendinitis (nothing new here) and spring stud Liam Hendriks missing his well earned first start of 2012 with a nasty bout of food poisoning.
Let’s look at the pitching performances from the Baltimore series. Carl Pavano settled down after a rough opening in which he shoed uncharacteristic lack of control and falling behind in several counts. Pavano finished having given up 4 ER over 7 IP. Let’s get one thing straight Twins fans; this is pretty much a standard Pavano performance. Despite the status afforded him by being the opening day starter, this effort is only 1 ER away from being a quality start. Other than Josh Willingham’s two run blast, the Twins gave him nothing in return, going 0-4 with RISP.
Liriano’s start on Saturday was more puzzling to me. I watched this game and I could not get one overriding feeling out of my head while I was, Liriano looked pretty good. Don’t get me wrong, you are only as good as your pitching line and Liriano gave up 5 ER in only 4 IP, but there is a little more to read between the lines here. Liriano struck out the side on the first and looked dominant in doing so. The solo HR that Adam Jones hit in the second inning was a sharp pitch, down in the zone and nothing more than a great piece of hitting. Liriano’s defense gave him little help, committing two errors behind him and Baltimore’s Babip in this game was .538 – which is simply unreasonable. In short, Baltimore found every hold they could find, the Twins defense as poor and Liriano made a few mistakes. I’m looking for a big improvement in his second start.
Finally, props to Anthony Swarzak, no matter what he is asked to do by the Twins, he does it well. 5 IP, 1 ER, Swarzak certainly gave the Twins a chance to be competitive in this game, sadly the pitiful two hits that they mustered off Jason Hammel did not.
|Justin Morneau has driven the ball well early on|
Hitting has been the struggle out of the gate for the Twins, they have managed just 5 runs on 15 hits through 3 games, the only highlight, which cannot be understated is Justin Morneau being 4-10 with 2 doubles through this trying opening series. It is the Twins hitting that really needs to wake up as they head back to Minnesota for the home opener against C.J Wilson and the Angels on Wednesday. With the next 16 games coming against the Angels, Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox and Rays the Twins will need to find form across the board in order to not find them selves in a big hole by the end of April.