Recap: Twins vs. Angels Game 3

Remember those seasons where it seemed to take forever for a Twin to hit a home run? Well, Justin Morneau and J.J. Hardy just tacked on two more in this game, bringing the total to 6 in three games. Not only that, but Morneau and Hardy are also the first two Twins to have more than one home run. I’m sure the Twins will still be able to “manufacture” runs, but using the long ball to score runs is definitely something that I’m enjoying.

I do like Jim Thome, but I was disappointed to see Thome and Young in the lineup rather than Thome and Jason Kubel. Apparently Kubel was 2 for 14 in his career against Ervin Santana, but I have to cite the common complaint that this is a sample size issue. Besides, Thome went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts, so it’s not like Kubel could have done any worse, but second-guessing isn’t really fair.

What a game by Carl Pavano. 7 innings, 6 strikeouts, no walks, and only 1 run allowed. His start guarantees the Twins will start their first series with at least a split, and they have a chance to win this opening series. He did a great job controlling his pitches, and his change-up/splitter (Bert even called it a fosh at one point) looked amazing tonight.

Despite giving up a run, Jon Rauch is looking good as a closer so far, but when your career ERA is around 4 and you only have to face the bottom half of a team’s lineup, you’re likely going to pitch well. Deep down, I’m happy to see Rauch convert a few saves immediately, because otherwise we’d be subjected to listening to all the complaints of how Rauch isn’t the right man for the job,* and Francisco Liriano should be the closer, etc. Besides, some bloggers have already adopted a rally cry: It’s time to Rauch and roll.

* Honestly, I don’t think he is the right guy to be the closer, but that’s only because I have a man crush on Pat Neshek and he’s got a much better chance to be dominant than Rauch.

J.J. Hardy sure didn’t have a pretty swing that led to his home run, but of course, we’ll take it. Hopefully these two quick home runs mean that we’ll see the 24-26 HR Hardy from 2 and 3 years ago, rather than the Triple-A version from last year.

Judging by the fact that Brian Duensing was warming up late in the game rather than Jose Mijares, it seems like the coaching staff is a bit wary of using Mijares after his poor outing on Monday. I don’t know if that’s necessarily fair, but if he’s still having eye troubles, I’d rather have the guy that can see Joe Mauer’s mitt clearly.

Lastly, I suppose I should say this even though it was clear here. These recaps won’t happen every single game, but I’ll post them whenever possible. Also, they’ll basically be a stream-of-consciousness post, so don’t worry if I seem random, or I lack any sense of a storyline while I talk about the game. I won’t be able to see much of tomorrow’s game, so you’ll have to go elsewhere to see some commentary during or afterwards.

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2 Responses to “Recap: Twins vs. Angels Game 3”

  1. Josh Says:

    I have a feeling we are going to dee some maddeningly inconsistent lineups this year. Despite the Twins hiring a “stats guy,” I think you’re going to see a big push against any type of statistical reasoning within lineup creation. Did you see the ridiculous quote from Gardy that Gleeman linked to yesterday? He illustrated his complete lack of understanding of sabermetric stats with laughably erroneous claims. But like you said, Kubel should have been in the lineup. I opined that very fact yesterday, along with the fact that Harris should have been in the lineup the day before.

    Back to the game, Pavano looked very strong as our #4/5 pitcher (depending on how Liriano does this year). You got to like 5 sturdy starting pitchers… here’s hoping The Franchise secures that ace role.

    I completely agree with you on Neshek. I like Rauch, but see him more suited to the 7th or 8th. Neshek has the better stuff and just needs more time to get back in game shape. Also, I’m making the prediction that Jesse Crain has arguably the best year of any in the bullpen.

    Finally, J.J. Hardy could turn out to be a huge steal. Not only has he looked fairly solid at the plate, but his defensive play in the 9th was fantastic. His range is great and he’s got a strong arm. If he hits .270 with 20-25 homers and consistent defense, he’ll be a huge upgrade for this team.

    • Andrew Says:

      Yeah, I don’t know how much of an influence the stats guy will have on the front office. If anything, he’s probably only around to organize statistics files :-P Yeah, I saw Gardy’s quote from Gleeman…I know we all say stuff without having actual evidence to prove it, though.

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