April 2, 2008

A Different Looking Team Then On Monday

The Twins gave everyone great optimism with their intensity and their readiness to play on Monday, but Tuesday the team made a complete 180° turn in the opposite direction. The team as a whole did not pitch great, they did not hit great, and they made a few mental errors on defense.

Boof Bonser got knocked up early with back-to-back RBI doubles in the first inning. He cruised through the second, third and fourth before giving up two more runs in the fifth. One of which was a home run to catcher Mike Napoli to lead off the inning, the other was an unearned run after an error by Adam Everett. Bonser was pulled after going 6 innings and giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits. He didn't walk any while he struck out 4. Jesse Crain came into the game in the 7th inning, it was his first appearance since May 15th, 2007. He gave up one run in 2/3 of the inning pitched. Dennys Reyes allowed Garrett Anderson to hit an RBI single, he was the only batter "Big Sweat" faced. Brian Bass and Juan Rincon finished off the game and combined to allow 4 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits, 2 walks, and one strikeout in the final 2.1 innings. Not exactly an encore by the bullpen, although they were all different pitchers from a night ago.

Delmon Young continued to really impress me. He did fall behind in the count quickly, however he fought back and ended up getting the pitches he wanted. He went 3-4 with a run scored and his first double of the season. The first three hitters in the lineup Carlos Gomez, Joe Mauer, and Michael Cuddyer all went 1-4. Jason Kubel also had a hit, which was almost caught by Torii Hunter. The only run of the game came off of Adam Everett's bat when he hit an RBI single to score Young in the fifth inning.

Justin Morneau remains hitless in 7 at bats. I've been saying for a little while that I'm nervous about him, so count me not surprised by his struggles.

Both Everett and Brendan Harris made mistakes on defense. Everett had a great stop in the fifth inning, but his throw to first pulled Morneau off the bag. Harris also made a great stop, but he flipped the ball into the air trying to be fancy by getting a double play. If he pulled it off, it would've been the #1 web-gem, but he should have played it safe and just reached over and tag the bag himself.

Hopefully the team can come back and give us a stronger effort like they did on Monday. However, I do expect some very inconsistent play this season. It's going to be a roller-coaster kind of year. I just hope I don't hurl like I wanted to last night.

Player of the Game
Delmon Young - Left Field

3-4, 1 R, 2B

Hunter gets Award: Before the game, Torii Hunter received his 7th consecutive Gold Glove. He was presented the award by his former manager Ron Gardenhire and he had a big standing ovation. But like yesterday, Twins fans loved to see him struggle at the plate. I loved what Torii Hunter brought to this team. He had a positive attitude and was clearly a leader on and off the team for our other players.

One thing I do think is overrated about him though is his defense. Is he good? Without questions. But I think that the voters took him playing in the Metrodome too much and I don't think he's been necessarily deserving of the award for a few years. He provided security in center field, however he has definitely lost a step over the course of the last few years. It's really made me start to think that the award has really got a "respectful" nature to it, in that I believe both Ivan Rodriguez and Hunter were given the award out of respect, more than necessarily deserving.

I want to also say something that I knew would happen. On Monday night, Hunter received a standing ovation. After his introduction, he took the field and immediately caught a few balls and the fans started to boo. Dick Bremer and Bert Blylevin had a problem with the fans booing him and all I have to say is that he's not a Twin anymore, he's given up that privilege of being cheered for by fans in Minnesota. What were we supposed to do? Clap? Say "atta boy Torii!"? You can't be serious.

What do some (not all) of his former players think of him now? Well perhaps Juan Rincon's beaning says more than we may think.