OHHHHH man, the Madness has returned. Normally, a return of my madness would be concerning, but in this case, it's a good thing. Every Monday I'll recap the Twins' weekend series and throw in some silly stuff at the end for the kids. Come for the analysis, stay for some muted chuckles. Let's go!
Hey cool, the Twins looked pretty good this weekend. After dropping two of three to a ratty White Sox team, they won two of three against a decent Cleveland team. How did it happen? Let's discuss.
Twins starters managed just 14.1 innings against the Indians over the weekend. Mike Pelfrey pitched well through five innings but got rocked by two home runs in the sixth. Kyle Gibson pitched well, earning the win, but he only made it through 5 innings. He walked four batters and needed 97 pitches to get through those five innings. Ricky Nolasco was the worst of the three, getting staked to a 6-2 lead heading into the fourth. He gave up three in the bottom of the fourth and didn't return for the fifth. He needed 91 pitches to get through his four bad innings and he walked four batters as well. Twins starters walked 11 batters in those 14.1 innings against Cleveland, while striking out just 7. Not good.
I fully expect the starting pitching to improve, but it's borderline shocking that the Twins are 3-3 when they've only received one good start (Kevin Correia in game 2 of the season) and they lost that game.
The short starts from the Twins' rotation lead to a lot of work from the Twins' bullpen. As a whole, they didn't perform well. Brian Duensing was great on Saturday, Jared Burton allowed runners but no runs and Glen Perkins shut down Cleveland 1-2-3 in Sunday's game. However, Casey Fien got rocked on Friday and Caleb Thielbar wasn't much better. Perkins had a sloppy inning on Saturday in a non-save situation. Anthony Swarzak gave up 5 hits in 1.1 innings on Sunday. His ERA sits at 20.25 after 2.2 innings this season. He did get the win on Sunday, so he must have done something right.
I also expect the bullpen to be better. It makes you wonder if this team could actually be even better than they have looked so far. The pitching wasn't supposed to be their weakness.
Of course, I have little to say about the offense because they played well. The Twins scored 19 runs in the Cleveland series after scoring 19 the White Sox series. In fact, the Twins lead the AL in runs scored. Of course, they also lead the AL in runs allowed. Their 0 run differential confirms their .500 record, right? Pythag!
The Gardy 1000
Congratulations to Ron Gardenhire on his 1000th (and 1001st) career victory! Whether you think Gardenhire should be managing the Twins in 2014 or not, it's hard to not be happy for the Twins' long-time manager. He led our favorite team to six playoff appearances and who knows, maybe he's got a few more planned for the future. 1000 wins is no small feat, so way to go, Gardy! Here's to 1000 more.
Random Top 5 List - AL RBI Leaders
That looks pretty great, doesn't it? RBI is a passé stat, but it's still cool to see a Twins player at the top of the list. The choice to bring Colabello North was obviously the right choice. With injuries to Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham, I can't imagine that Colabello gets a day off anytime soon. He earned his roster spot in Spring and now he's earning his spot in the lineup on an everyday basis. If he continues to hit, he'll stay in the lineup even longer. Could he top 100 RBI on the season? I think it's possible.
KWL - Jason Bartlett from the Twins fan perspective
Question from a reader - Glen Perkins had a shaky Spring, and hasn't been terribly sharp thus far in the young season. How concerned are you about this? - @whitebear1883 on Twitter
I'm not very worried. This question was sent to me prior to the Sunday game and Perkins' performance in that game certainly put any worries I may have had to ease. All great relievers go through rough patches and Perkins will be no different. It would be great if he got the bad stuff out of the way and could just dominate from now until the end of the year. He's talented enough to do it. From what I've watched so far, his stuff still looks great and his velocity seems to be intact. I'll guess that he's sporting a sick 2.00ish ERA by June.
Former Twin Update - Kevin Slowey
Hearken back to 2011; I'm going to tell you a tale...
Are you in '11 mode yet?
Ok, Kevin Slowey will still be an effective MLB pitcher and Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn will both essentially be jobless. Yep, the same Kevin Slowey who apparently bit the heads off of parakeets while pitching for the Twins. He's on the Marlins. Yes, they're still a team. I promise they are. Why would I lie? Yes, there is a giant colorful statue in the bleachers.
Slowey made the team as a starter in 2013 but will work as the swingman in 2014. He's off to a good start too. Ok, he's only pitched in one game, but he did go four innings, giving up just three hits and no runs, while striking out five and walking two. For a guy who couldn't get loose in the Twins' bullpen, he's been pretty good in relief with the Marlins over the past two seasons. Maybe he just didn't like the trees at Target Field.
I get a little repetitive at times. I harp on things. I have my pet causes. I put up a new poll to try to get out in front of my own repetition. Please vote in the poll that sits below Kevin Slowey's face as a baseball. It's important to democracy.
Link to Something I wrote - Mailbag
I'm shameless when it comes to promoting things I've written in the past. Why, just recently I've promoted my newest screenplay, an analysis of the 1991 Twins dancing video and some player profiles I wrote throughout the Winter. Now, I'm not here to promote those items, I'm here to promote the fake mailbag I wrote last Friday. I answered some truly insightful questions and I think you just might enjoy it. Here you go.
Twins are .500
But it is a long season
Still a happy fan
Have a great week, everyone!