For someone who has been into this game for as short a time as I have, it feels weird to be bagging on the Minnesota Twins. Actually, check that – it feels weird to be able to bag on the Minnesota Twins; most people know I’m not really a bad sport like that. The team with Jason Kubel, Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau, those Twins? Yeah. Freaky.
I don’t know how to feel about last night’s win, but all things being equal, I’d prefer to be happy. I didn’t take a lot of (read; none) notes, I just sat and watched Michael Pineda pitch and every so often compared what I was seeing on TV with what GameDay told me was happening. Pineda took care of business. He didn’t have a lot of trouble with the Twins’ lineup (he was sweating a lot, though, which seemed strange to me, given the cool temperatures out last night), mixing up pitch selection and speeds, with his hat cocked to the side, and an air of confidence that is really nice to keep seeing out there. Pineda struck out 7 batters, walked none, and gave up 3 hits. No runs, of course, until our bullpen got in there to make things a little exciting in the top of the 9th. It wasn’t for lack of trying on Jamey Wright’s part that he wound up allowing 2 runs in – a lot of speed and pitch-type changes. Jamey Wright’s just not Michael Pineda. Last night, he wasn’t even Aaron Laffey.
Scott Baker, meanwhile, made hitting easy for our somewhat-struggling lineup, and gave up four runs (two of which were back-to-back dingers for Adam Kennedy and Carlos Peguero). I should have paid more attention to Scott’s performance than I did, but watching him throw outside to Miguel Olivo was both confusing and hilarious. These guys get recordings of each other, right? Like, to study so they can beat them? I love Olivo (no, seriously), but the man’s had 25 hits in 133 PA. He’s not going anywhere. Baker felt it necessary to walk him in the first inning after throwing two sinkers and two sliders all around the outside of the strike zone. I can appreciate a guy with an agenda, and Baker was obviously only setting Olivo up for the inevitable walk back to the dugout to get his catcher’s gear on after Adam Kennedy popped out to short. Olivo went 1 for 3 last night, and his hit was off of Alex Burnett, so maybe Baker had Olivo right where he wanted him the whole time.
Though the win feels kind of light to me, I am trying to give it more heft by realizing that the Twins beat the snot out of us last year every time they were given the chance. I realize that no win, no matter how small or easily come by, feels light or hollow to the team who is winning. So I’m glad that the Seattle Mariners were able to pull this one off, if for nothing else than a much-needed possible boost to morale. Even though the last two games of the Indians series weren’t played, it seems like we lost those, too, which is just a silly way for me to think. Tonight’s game is Felix vs. Francisco Liriano, and according to the game notes, he left a Tigers game last Tuesday with some breathing issues due to “flu-like symptoms”. I hope he’s feeling better, because I don’t like watching games knowing guys are or might be sick. It sounds like I’m being picky, but I just like going up against other teams when everyone is nice and healthy – I feel like it gives a true measure of effort and ability if everyone is 100%. Or 100%-ish. When any negative thing that happens can be blamed on having a mean case of the sniffles or needing an aspirin, and the Mariners lose the game, I get crazy with the ‘what ifs’.
I’m taking Tom to Wednesday’s game. He made a crack last night about how the Ms will win these two Twins games so that they can lose when he’s at the stadium Wednesday night. I laughed about it until I looked up and saw that Jered Weaver will be our nemesis of the evening. Game notes on the “probable pitchers” list say that he’s been giving up home runs. We have some guys who can hit those, right? Occasionally? This could also happen. Oh, the excitement! If Franklin Gutierrez comes back and is nice and healthy and shiny and new, can we please move Michael Saunders to left field for the duration of the year? Pretty please? I will take Saunders defense in left and be happy to sit him in the 9th batting hole for 2011…anyone?
We’ll see. Play ball!