Well, it’s here. It’s Opening Day for the Twins. Opening Day. And, at 7 AM, it’s 19 degrees out there. Across much of the country it is going to be a cold opening day.
Let’s just note who the Twins are starting the season with; our cast of characters.
Vance Worley – acquired in the off-season, opening day pitcher, potentially good.
Mike Pelfry – part of the Twin’s new strategy to acquire only post-Tommy John pitchers
Liam Hendriks – big success in the minors, but 1-8 so far in the Bigs
Kevin Correia – another off-season acquisition; a much criticized move
Cole De Vries – local boy, unheralded, performed well last year and in spring training
Scott Diamond is currently on the injured list, but he was the Twins best starter last year, and he will hopefully step into that role again when he recovers. There’s also Sudden Sam Deduno, who played so well in the WBC, and also was better than expected last season for the Twins. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him step into the rotation as well. And there’s also Rich Harden, coming back from rotator cuff surgery; he’s 59-38 lifetime in the majors, and if he can come back healthy (still on injured list) that would also be a boost. So, there are some… reinforcements, on the way, just over that near hill. If we can just hold on until they arrive. As Twins fans, we hope for the best, and expect something else.
Jared Burton – has developed into a reliable mid-relief guy
Josh Roenicke – off-season acquisition, nice ERA with Colorado
Tyler Robertson – excellent against lefties
Ryan Pressly – shows promise
Casey Fien – shows promise
Brian Duensing – okay in relief, not so good when starting
Glenn Perkins – has been a reliable closer; had some success as a starter earlier in his career. I suppose they are thinking “don’t mess with success,” but I wonder if they ever think of trying him as a starter again? A club that’s losing 90 games doesn’t need a great closer, but probably could use another quality starter. I wonder how Perkins would feel about starting?
Ryan Doumit – acquired last year, and had a great season for us. Can play outfield, 1b
Joe Mauer – one of the top hitters in baseball
Jamie Carroll – versatile, can play second, third, or short. Old man, at 39
Justin Morneau – can he regain top form? Will he be traded? High hopes for Justin.
Brian Dozier – trying second this year, after having a rough time at short last year
Pedro Florimon – rumored to be an excellent though non-hitting shortstop
Eduardo Escobar – second base, acquired for Liriano from the white sox
Trevor Plouffe – 24 HR last year, but questions remain. Streaky
Aaron Hicks – rookie center fielder and lead off hitter
Josh Willingham – power hitting left fielder
Chris Parmalee – more of a first baseman; his year to make the majors?
Darrin Mastroianni – I like this guy. Good fielder, makes things happen.
Wilken Ramirez – signed as a minor league free agent, good spring
All in all, it looks like a fun season ahead. No one expects the Twins to compete, but there are a lot of interesting stories in the line up, and, well, who knows? Hope springs eternal! Just running through the lineup made me think that we will score some runs, probably be inconsistent in offense, and pitching is really anybody’s guess, though it seems pretty unlikely that all these pitchers will succeed.
Back to reality: game starts at 3:10, and game time temp will be about, uh… 32. That’s freezing, folks.
I’d hoped to get out to a bar somewhere to see some of the game, but, no. I will be working instead.
Twins down, 3-0 in the fourth. Worley probably won’t be in there much longer, four innings, 74 pitches, 49 strikes. (Verlander, 70 – 43) Nine groundouts for Worley, no fly outs. I like that. Worley escaped last inning, bases loaded, two outs, got another groundball out. Then Morneau led off the 4th with a double, but was stranded at third. Worley’s given up 7 hits and a walk, with 3 strike outs, Verlander two hits and a walk, 5 strike outs. 34 degrees right now. Lots of game left…
Six complete, Tigers 3, Twins 1. Drew Smyly replaces Verlander; with two outs, the Twins get a double from Plouffe and walks to Parmelee and Dozier. A wild pitch brings in a run, but then Ramirez, hitting for Florimon, grounds out to short to end the inning. Still anyone’s game. Escobar comes in to play short.
Casey Fien strikes out the side in the 7th! Seventh inning stretch! Rally caps!
Bottom of the seventh; Hicks grounds out, Mauer singles, Willingham singles, Morneau walks. Bases loaded. Leyland pulls Smyly. Brings in Al Alburqueque, one of my current favorite baseball names. Doumit singles! Run scores, bases loaded, 3-2. Trevor Plouffe up. Plouffe goes down swinging. Bringing up the quiet one, Parmelee. Full count…. no!
Pamelee goes down on strikes, swinging. With the bases loaded.
Two more chances.
Tigers get a run in the 8th on a wild pitch by Roenicke. 4-2.
Bottom of the 8th, Hicks draws a walk with two outs. His first time on base in his career. Do they give him the ball? Probably not. Anyway, Mauer’s up. Mauer’s down. Fly out. Ninth inning coming up.
Seems like the Twins had a lot of momentum after the seventh, but Duensing came in and gave up a hit and a walk, and the top of the 8th plodded along, and we were lucky to get out of it only giving up a run. But the air leaked out of the tire of our exuberance.
Roenicke goes through the top of the 9th without any problems.
Bottom of the ninth. Willingham… one pitch and a pop-up. Morneau up, Leyland brings in a lefty, Phil Coke. (Hmmm. Some sort of naming rights deal??) Morneau up, and Morneau down, strikes out swing. Doumit up. Radio guy says Twins in danger of losing their fifth straight opener. Could the guy stop playing the organ at the ball park? Doumit flies out to Hunter, and the streak continues, as the home club loses 4-2.
I hate being 0-1.