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  • Series Preview: Tigers @ Twins, 4/1

    Twins vs Tigers Opening SeriesIt's Opening Day!

    In a rare Opening Day homestand, Target Field looks to be blustery and cold for the home opener as baseball begins anew in 2013.

    Several questions linger from Spring Training... How will the Twins pitching staff hold up amidst several injuries? How will the new pick-ups Vance Worley, Kevin Correia, and Mike Pelfrey perform in this opening set against the reigning division champs?

    Game one will pit trade acquisition Vance Worley against former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander.

    Game two will see free agent acquisition Kevin Correia line up against Anibal Sanchez.

    Game three has Tommy John recipient Mike Pelfrey square off against Rick Porcello.

    2012 Team Statistics:

    Twins:
    Joe Mauer 147 545 81 174 31 4 10 85 243 90 88 8 .319 .416 .446 .861 4.9
    Ben Revere 124 511 70 150 13 6 0 32 175 29 54 40 .294 .333 .342 .675 1.7
    Denard Span 128 516 71 146 38 4 4 41 204 47 62 17 .283 .342 .395 .738 2.8
    Ryan Doumit 134 484 56 133 34 1 18 75 223 29 98 0 .275 .320 .461 .781 2.1
    Jamey Carroll 138 470 65 126 18 1 1 40 149 52 65 9 .268 .343 .317 .660 1.8
    Justin Morneau 134 505 63 135 26 2 19 77 222 49 102 1 .267 .333 .440 .773 1.1
    Josh Willingham 145 519 85 135 30 1 35 110 272 76 141 3 .260 .366 .524 .890 4.4
    Darin Mastroianni 77 163 22 41 3 2 3 17 57 18 45 21 .252 .328 .350 .678 0.4
    Alexi Casilla 106 299 33 72 17 2 1 30 96 16 52 21 .241 .282 .321 .603 0.4
    Trevor Plouffe 119 422 56 99 19 1 24 55 192 37 92 1 .235 .301 .455 .756 1.8
    Brian Dozier 84 316 33 74 11 1 6 33 105 16 58 9 .234 .271 .332 .603 0.5
    Chris Parmelee 64 192 18 44 10 2 5 20 73 13 52 0 .229 .290 .380 .671 -0.2
    Matt Carson 26 66 3 15 1 0 0 4 16 2 21 0 .227 .246 .242 .489 -0.3
    Eduardo Escobar 14 44 4 10 0 0 0 6 10 2 8 1 .227 .271 .227 .498 -0.1
    Pedro Florimon 43 137 16 30 5 2 1 10 42 10 30 3 .219 .272 .307 .579 0.1
    Tigers:
    Hernan Perez 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0.0
    Miguel Cabrera 161 622 109 205 40 0 44 139 377 66 98 4 .330 .393 .606 .999 7.5
    Andy Dirks 88 314 56 101 18 5 8 35 153 23 53 1 .322 .370 .487 .857 1.9
    Avisail Garcia 23 47 7 15 0 0 0 3 15 3 10 0 .319 .373 .319 .692 -0.1
    Prince Fielder 162 581 83 182 33 1 30 108 307 85 84 1 .313 .412 .528 .940 5.0
    Austin Jackson 137 543 103 163 29 10 16 66 260 67 134 12 .300 .377 .479 .856 4.9
    Gerald Laird 63 174 24 49 8 1 2 11 65 14 21 0 .282 .337 .374 .710 0.6
    Delmon Young 151 574 54 153 27 1 18 74 236 20 112 0 .267 .296 .411 .707 -0.7
    Quintin Berry 94 291 44 75 10 6 2 29 103 25 80 21 .258 .330 .354 .684 0.9
    Omar Infante 64 226 27 58 7 5 4 20 87 9 23 7 .257 .283 .385 .668 0.4
    Bryan Holaday 6 12 3 3 1 0 0 0 4 0 2 0 .250 .250 .333 .583 0.0
    Alex Avila 116 367 42 89 21 2 9 48 141 61 104 2 .243 .352 .384 .736 1.7
    Brennan Boesch 132 470 52 113 22 2 12 54 175 26 104 6 .240 .286 .372 .659 -0.4
    Jhonny Peralta 150 531 58 127 32 3 13 63 204 49 105 1 .239 .305 .384 .689 1.1
    Danny Worth 43 74 9 16 3 0 0 3 19 13 23 0 .216 .330 .257 .586 0.1
    Ramon Santiago 93 228 19 47 7 1 2 17 62 20 39 1 .206 .283 .272 .555 -0.6
    Jeff Baker 15 35 1 7 2 0 0 4 9 2 10 0 .200 .243 .257 .500 -0.1
    Brad Eldred 5 16 1 3 1 1 0 1 6 1 6 0 .188 .235 .375 .610 -0.1
    Don Kelly 75 113 14 21 2 1 1 7 28 14 22 2 .186 .276 .248 .523 -0.6
    Ryan Raburn 66 205 14 35 14 0 1 12 52 13 53 1 .171 .226 .254 .480 -1.6
    Comments 293 Comments
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Agreed. I don't know why it has to be the second game... Give people two games and then a day off.
      Make the day off Thursday. That way, if you have bad weather Monday, Tuesday, OR Wednesday, you can canx and play Thursday. If no bad weather, fine, you get a travel day. By leaving an open date Tuesday, if Wed or Thur get canx, you can't make it up, and if no bad wx, you don't get a travel day.
    1. jctwins's Avatar
      jctwins -
      When teams are selling Opening Day tickets at a significant premium, which many are, including the Twins, then people that pay for it need to see Opening Day. This is why the off day needs to stay on the day after OD.

      Drop the extra premium, and the other solutions here make complete sense.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      that was one of my favorite parts of the thread, where people think it is better for Mauer to lead off, rather than hit with runners on and 2 outs. I don't get that one at all.....
      It was a joke. The Tigers' bats were sleeping, no sense in waking them up for the top of the ninth by tying the score prematurely... like you can actually control such a thing.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      I think he was trying to pull that pitch. I'll put together a .gif when I get home but it looked to me like Mauer was trying to yank it out of the park, exactly like you described.
      I agree... Who knows what was in Joe's mind as he approached that at bat but he knows a home run ties it.

      I also think that Joe knows that the majority of his home runs have been opposite field jobs and that RF at Target field is the toughest wall to clear.

      I think he went for it and missed it.. Producing a fly ball to left field.

      Just a guess.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I brought it up because a player is more than a hitter. So, if we are talking about where he ranks relative to other players, his defense matters a lot (to me anyway). If we are arguing only about his hitting, he's in the top 20 for sure. If we are arguing about him as a total player, he drops, imo. YMMV on those breakouts, and I've probably thought about the ranking about 2 mins.....so I'd say +-5-7......
      And my point is that his positional scarcity trumps any negative defense contribution he makes.
      Mauer's defense has only been worth a negative 5.2 runs below average, over his entire career, while his positional scarcity has been worth 41.1 runs over his entire career.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      But I'm not talking about his career, I'm talking about now, when he will catch 120 or less games, and his defense is less than stellar. The discussion was about how good he is now.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      though I agree, the defense for a catcher does not matter that much.....so it is mostly about his hitting, and now we are just arguing past each other to no real point, other than what we are arguing about, and I find that not very fun.
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      But I'm not talking about his career, I'm talking about now, when he will catch 120 or less games, and his defense is less than stellar. The discussion was about how good he is now.
      I get what you're saying, but over the past five seasons, only the top five to seven catchers in games started have managed 120 or more starts. Maybe a more realistic threshold of whether he's really a full-time catcher this season is 100 games. That would put him behind the dish as much or more than at least half the #1 catchers in baseball, and at least some of the guys ahead of him can't play first and have the kind of bat that would never play at DH
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
      I get what you're saying, but over the past five seasons, only the top five to seven catchers in games started have managed 120 or more starts. Maybe a more realistic threshold of whether he's really a full-time catcher this season is 100 games. That would put him behind the dish as much or more than at least half the #1 catchers in baseball, and at least some of the guys ahead of him can't play first and have the kind of bat that would never play at DH
      Thanks for pointing this out. It's very rare for catchers to catch as much as other players play their positions.

      I'd be in the camp that says this season he should catch 80 games. Why waste his body this season? I don't think his number of games at catcher should be a measuring stick for anything this season.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Well here is Mauer's 2-0 swing in the 8th with Hicks on 1st.



      Just kidding. You can see its 3-0 and Verlander pitching. That's the double Mauer roped into the left field corner.

      The real 2-0 swing against Benoit:



      The first difference is, the toe comes up as Mauer pivots on his heel, unlike in the first swing where he stays planted. He drops his back shoulder a bit, clears his hips more violently. That's a home run swing, it just happened to careen off to left field as Mauer got under it.
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      I'd be in the camp that says this season he should catch 80 games. Why waste his body this season? I don't think his number of games at catcher should be a measuring stick for anything this season.
      And that's a VERY good point. I was just trying to give a frame of reference for his offense to be judged in a context where we consider him the #1 catcher, not a threshold to shoot for.

      My preference would be for Mauer to catch no more than 80 games as well, for exactly the reason you stated. Of course that would probably force us to endure more Doumit defense and/or Butera plate appearances, but whadaya gonna do?

      If there were even just a small chance it would help prolong his career, or just make him a little more likely to be healthy next year, I'd still be good with it. And it's not like they'd be benching David Ortiz circa 2007 to keep Mauer in the lineup at DH. Whether Joe or the Twins would be good with it, well, that's another story.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Well here is Mauer's 2-0 swing in the 8th with Hicks on 1st.



      Just kidding. You can see its 3-0 and Verlander pitching. That's the double Mauer roped into the left field corner.

      The real 2-0 swing against Benoit:



      The first difference is, the toe comes up as Mauer pivots on his heel, unlike in the first swing where he stays planted. He drops his back shoulder a bit, clears his hips more violently. That's a home run swing, it just happened to careen off to left field as Mauer got under it.
      Well done.
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      The first difference is, the toe comes up as Mauer pivots on his heel, unlike in the first swing where he stays planted. He drops his back shoulder a bit, clears his hips more violently. That's a home run swing, it just happened to careen off to left field as Mauer got under it.
      Thanks much for posting, and very good analysis. Completely agree that it looks like two different swings. Couple of other things to add. The second pitch looks to me like a fastball that runs in on his hands, while the first pitch looks almost like an offspeed pitch away that hangs just a bit... an easier pitch to drive.

      And the second swing also appears to have a bit more uppercut and bat speed than the first, in addition to the open finish you mentioned. It sure looks to me that the ball goes to left mostly due to the velocity and location of a good pitch, not Mauer's approach.
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