Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Game Thoughts

Aaron Hicks

Hicks didn't look great today.  He added two more strikeouts to his season total and only put one ball in play.  However, I thought his lead-off walk was impressive.  He laid off some really close pitches and seems to have good command of the strike zone.  He takes pitches and that is important from the lead-off spot.  If the guys behind him can get a look at the starter's repertoire, it really helps the rest of the lineup get a gauge on the pitcher.  Having Hicks and Mauer 1-2 is going to be a great way to drive up pitch counts, especially as Hicks adjusts to the new level of competition. 


Well, if you are going to rip a player when they are bad, you have to give credit when they are good.  Correia looked good today.  He changed speeds and moved the ball around.  He only let Detroit string together hits in one inning and that really helped to limit potential damage.  He only walked one batter, and while he only struck out two, we all knew he wasn't going to rack up large strikeout totals.  Correia will likely have some rough outings if he gets hit like he did today, but he'll also have some good outings.  I'm sure that Gardenhire appreciated the seven innings he gave the team today. 


While the bullpen is not deep, with these two pitchers, there is plenty of talent.  Using Burton and Perkins kept today's game close and kept pitchers with much less talent from being used.  While neither pitcher gets a hold or a save for this game, they both contributed greatly to this win.  I think Perkins is excellent.  This isn't a very saber thing to say, but he just looks confident and collected on the mound and I like to see that in a reliever. 

The 9th

Was fun.  Walk-off hits are just awesome.  In that inning, I was particularly happy with Plouffe's at bat. He was facing a really tough righty in Joaquin Benoit and he worked the count nicely.  After Chris Parmelee failed to move the runner over, Brian Dozier had a nice at bat of his own, shooting a pitch to right-center and getting Carroll over to third.  Eduardo Escobar's double should have been a sacrifice fly, but I'll take the outfield miscue and the win that came with it.  Everyone looked so pumped, it's always fun to watch a team walk-off.

Other MLB Thoughts

Baltimore

Speaking of walk-offs, I watched the end of the Tampa Bay/Baltimore game.  Matt Joyce hit a walk-off home run after Baltimore tied the game off Fernando Rodney in the top of the 9th.  However, it was Baltimore that stood out to me.  I really like their lineup.  Adding full seasons of Brian Roberts, Nolan Reimold, Nick Markakis and Manny Machado will make their offense even more impressive.  Nate McLouth belongs nowhere near the lead-off spot, but they should figure that out eventually.  Their offense was only average last season, but could become an above-average offense with healthy seasons from their regulars. 


Slowey is back in the Bigs!  I know Slowey is a polarizing figure for Twins' fans, but I always liked him.  I mean, I named my blog after him, right?  He's not consistent and he can nibble a bit, but he has great command of his pitches.  Tonight, he was moving them in and out and changing speeds nicely.  He was working quickly and getting outs.  He actually walked three batters, which might end up being the most he walks all year.  He couldn't get Denard Span out, walking him twice and giving up a double.  It was fun to watch Span play again; he'll be a really nice addition in Washington. 


Ogando was electric on Wednesday, striking out 10 batters while walking only one in 6.1 innings.  Granted, it was the Astros, but it was still impressive to watch.  Now that Ogando is seemingly a full-time starter, it will be very interesting to see what he can do in a full season.  He has great stuff.  He and Yu Darvish could form a really dynamic pair for the next few seasons. 

Braves Outfield

Justin Upton and Jason Heyward both hit home runs today.  I still can't believe that Arizona traded Upton.  He's only 25!  Arizona's loss is certainly Atlanta's gain.  Having Heyward in right softens the blow of moving Upton to left.  Heyward is such a dynamic player and so graceful for his size.  I love to watch him play.  It's rare for a team to have two potential perennial MVP candidates, but Atlanta might have that with Upton and Heyward.  In center, B.J. Upton had a golden sombrero tonight, but that happens. 

Edit:  I forgot to talk about Matt Harvey.  Matt Harvey looked amazing tonight.  That is all, please proceed.

Thanks for reading my thoughts.  What are your impressions of Wednesday's games?

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