For the first time since October 3rd, 2010, the Minnesota Twins find themselves in a place in the standings where their win total is greater than or equal to their loss total. The Twins went the entire 2011 and 2012 seasons without ever reaching that .500 mark – not 1-1, 2-2, or even 3-3. After Eduardo Escobar‘s late-inning heroics yesterday (on a fly ball double that seems only the Tigers defense wouldn’t get an out off of) the Twins are 1-1, in a tie for third place with Detroit in the AL Central. It’s obviously way too early to make any assumptions as to how the remaining 160 games will go, but here are some quick thoughts leading up to the rubber match at Noon today.
Outside of the first pitch Josh Roenicke threw as a Twin, which bounced in front of the plate and went right through Joe Mauer‘s legs, the bullpen has been rock solid. Brian Duensing gave up a hit, a walk, and an intentional walk which led to Roenicke’s run-scoring wild pitch. That is the only run they’ve given up in 5 innings of work. In fact Duensing gave up the only hit out of of any of the relievers in that spot as well. Roenicke, Jared Burton, Casey Fien, and Glen Perkins currently have a line of 4.1 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, and 6 strike outs to start the year.
To top that off, Vance Worley and Kevin Correia showed that they might actually be able to keep the Twins in the ballgame this year. Worley I felt was the victim of a couple cheap runs in his outing, and didn’t get hit hard enough to be worried about him. He gave up 8 hits, but if I remember right only about 2 or 3 of those hits were solid knocks. Corriea was even more impressive yesterday, working quickly and giving up just 2 runs on 7 hits, a walk, and 2 strike outs in 7 innings. Both pitchers got deep into the game (“deep” is a relative term in comparison to what we’re used to, Bert) and kept the Twins in reach at the end.
The Twins lineup really has a group of core veterans in the middle, surrounded by the young and inexperienced. That fact has been illuminated already in these first two games. Aaron Hicks and his aggressiveness as he tries to get that first major league hit under his belt has clearly been taken advantage of by veterans Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez. He’s had some good deep at-bats, and actually drawn 2 of the 12 Twins walks, but has looked like a rookie on some of the off-speed pitches and clutch situations he’s found himself in. The same goes for Chris Parmelee and Trevor Plouffe, who have each struck out in some key situations. As a team the Twins are now 3-18 with runners in scoring position. There will definitely be some growing pains when it comes to Hicks, Plouffe, Parmelee, Brian Dozier, and Pedro Florimon; but a big win yesterday will hopefully loosen up the younger players a little.
This afternoon the Twins have an opportunity to do one other thing they have failed to do since September of 2010: win a home series against the Detroit Tigers. Newcomers Worley and Correia have been solid against this potent Tiger lineup, now it’s up to fellow newbie Mike Pelfrey to do the same this afternoon at Target Field.
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