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stringer bell

Runaway Optimism

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Yes, I heard the postgame show which pointed out the Twins were above .500 for the first time since 2010. I have seen the positive comments about the starting pitchers and their success so far this season. I do believe this team is improved and I think they are due for better luck after two disastrous seasons where any luck they had was bad luck.

This is a club that will be hard-pressed to exceed 70 wins without more than one positive surprise. Three full games have yielded 17 strikeouts in 27 innings. That is the opposite of a collection of "power arms". The three games were played in cold conditions, with tough lighting (sun and shadows) and with a strong breeze. The conditions helped the pitchers on both sides, without a doubt. Of course, those same conditions hurt the Twins hitters. It would figure that they will do better with higher temperatures, lighter winds and more normal lighting.

There are positive developments. The team has gotten production from their bench players. Justin Morneau appears to be healthy and should put up good numbers. There are other veterans who should again be productive. However, the team has many, many question marks and it is doubtful that each question will be answered positively.

Some observations: 1) Spring training doesn't matter much at all. Worley, Correia, and Pelfrey all looked like they were pitching batting practice, but now that the games count we see they are big leaguers. 2) I do like a few "scrap heap" players that the Twins have picked up--last year Burton established himself, this year perhaps Pressly might prove that he can be a bullpen arm for this year and the future. Casey Fien did well last year and has pitched well in a couple of game situations. 3) Maybe it is the weather, but the defense needs to improve. Mauer let too many balls get by him and made a couple of tailing throws to second, Florimon booted a ball and made several poor throws. Several balls eluded Plouffe at third, and their range on the corners of the outfield is going to be limited. 4) This season still is going to be about players establishing themselves in the field--Plouffe, Parmelee, Hicks, Dozier, and Florimon (or maybe Escobar)--or on the mound (Hendriks, perhaps De Vries, Gibson, Meyer, May).

Winning two out of three against the AL champs is nice, but the glow will fade quickly if the team plays poorly on the road. I am happy to see wins and competitive games.


  1. beckmt's Avatar
    Nice to see the wins. Tigers will need bullpen help, but will probably get it. Baltimore will be another test, hope the Twins do well. First month will be somewhat telling. Hope the Twins are .500 or over at the end of April.
  2. gil4's Avatar
    Are playoff tickets on sale yet?
  3. Willihammer's Avatar
    Dick Bremer said he talked to Torii after the opener. Evidently those 3-4 o'clock shadows were making Worley's cutter really hard to pickup.
  4. stringer bell's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer
    Dick Bremer said he talked to Torii after the opener. Evidently those 3-4 o'clock shadows were making Worley's cutter really hard to pickup.
    Another topic for DickBert on Thursday was relievers throwing huge numbers of innings. Both Dick and Bert remembered Bill Campbell who threw over 162 innings for the Twins. Neither mentioned an ex-Twin who should have certainly been mentioned when talking about relievers pitching high numbers of innings--Mike Marshall. Marshall threw over 200 innings out of the bullpen in 1974 for the Dodgers and won the Cy Young award. He pitched two or three years for the Twins and threw over 140 innings in one season. I remember him as surly, opinionated and a freak of nature. He threw every day whether he got in the game or not and seemed to have a bionic arm. Campbell, OTOH, seemed to have his effectiveness diminished due to the heavy workload he endured while a member of the Twins and later with the Red Sox.
  5. Teflon's Avatar
    Mike Marshall had a doctorate degree in kinesiology - which is the study of the human body in motion - so was less a freak of nature than he was a studied master of his discipline. Marshall, like Campbell, (and Tug McGraw) threw a very effective screwball as an out pitch - something you don't see much anymore.
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