• Twins Bats Defeat Twins Gloves 6-5

    The Twins won their first game of the season last night as their bats defeated Jared Weaver, the Los Angeles Angels, and the Twins own defense by a score of 6-5.

    It was a victory not just for the players on the field, but for the front office and coaching staff, as it finally validated decisions they had made throughout the offseason and spring training. Those decisions, contrary to the popular view of the Twins as a fundamentally sound team, have emphasized scoring runs over solid baseball. Tonight, they were proved right.

    For instance, the Twins signed 38-year-old career utility infielder Jamey Carroll to handle the premier defensive position of shortstop. To be sure, he was an upgrade defensively over last year's primary shortstop, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, but so were most bipeds with opposable thumbs. (With the possible exception of Trevor Plouffe.) But Carroll was signed for a much bigger financial commitment than several other significantly better fielders because of his ability to get on base.

    Tonight, after a frustrating start of the season in which Carroll was hitless, that decision bore fruit. On the one hand, he let a throw from Denard Span get past him that led to the fifth Angels run of the ball game, because the ball had the gaul to bounce before it got to him. But he more than made up for that gaffe with two huge hits. The first, a double, led to the Twins first run of the game and started a 3-run inning. The second, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, plated the winning run.

    The biggest decision the Twins made during spring training involved realigning the outfield defensively. It benched defensive ... oh, let's go with "specialist" over "messiah" because it'e more conventional ... Ben Revere. But it added breakthrough rookie Chris Parmelee to the roster and moved slugger Josh Willingham to left field, where he felt more comfortable.

    He didn't look very comfortable there in the fifth inning. With two outs, a hard-hit but catchable ball was hit to the wall in left field. Willingham missed it painfully, crashing into the wall. That resulted in a three-run inside-the-park home run that blew the Twins first and only lead of the season and gave the Angels a 4-3 edge.

    But Willingham had looked downright cozy a half inning earlier. That's when he turned on a Jared Weaver pitch to break the 1-1 tie with a 2-run blast that gave the Twins their first and only lead of the season. He also just missed another extra base blast in his next at-bat when it drifted foul by a couple of feet. Note to Twins management and batting instructors: it might just be that pull hitting is desirable at Target Field.

    That sequence - giving up three, adding two - would still leave Willingham and the Twins' sprinf realignment in the red if not for the other beneficiary of the outfield shifting, Chris Parmelee. Down by two runs and facing a southpaw that was specifically brought in to pitch to him, Parmelee drilled a ground ball down the first base line where Albert Pujols was fortunately not holding a runner, because there were two men on base. The hit plated the two tying runs and Parmelee took third base when Torii Hunter awkwardly fell into the right field base line wall. Parmelee later scored the winning run on Carroll's hit.

    Hot bats from three newcomers, none of which necessarily exemplify the Twins defensive ideal, won this game. While some Twins defensive issues basically cost them five preventable runs, perhaps defense is something upon which this team can improve. They'll likely need to, but they didn't need to tonight.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Bats Defeat Twins Gloves 6-5 started by John Bonnes
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. BigVin's Avatar
      BigVin -
      Go Twins! It's only a matter of time till our starter's start to catch up to the MLB Pitching. I think beating Weaver is a good sign! Gardy also needs to pick a lineup and STICK with it for more then 1 or 2 games. Keep it going boys!
    1. wagwan's Avatar
      wagwan -
      Too funny. But too true as well. I don't think you can win with that kind of defense over the whole season. It's just too hard on everybody when you keep giving the other team extra outs. Maybe Willingham has to DH? @ runs with his bat and -3 with his glove is not gonna work
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      I really think we'll see a lot more games like that win this season. Hopefully they'll have the same result.
    1. Kneelb4zerg's Avatar
      Kneelb4zerg -
      I can understand sacrificing defense for offense, but if Revere isn't going to be used as a defensive replacement to protect a 1 run lead in the 9th, why is he on the roster? Gardy needs to get over his fear of losing his backup catcher.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      I really think we'll see a lot more games like that win this season. Hopefully they'll have the same result.
      Agreed, 5-6 run games are going to be the recipe if we hope to win more than 75 games seeing as our rotation is unlikely to have a combined ERA under 5.00.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Torii's faceplant was one of the most epic I've ever seen. Super slow-mo on the Target Field scoreboards was pretty hilarious.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Glen Perkins and Matt Capps. I'd like to see them do what they did last night many times this year. (Even if I do turn blue from holding my breath in the 9th).
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steve Lein View Post
      Torii's faceplant was one of the most epic I've ever seen. Super slow-mo on the Target Field scoreboards was pretty hilarious.


      Awesome, that will be run on Sportscentre all week!
    1. mattsaari's Avatar
      mattsaari -
      No. Borjous' ball was not catchable. Willingham's mistake was in trying to catch it at all. If he just recognized it was over his head and played it off the wall, Borjous would have been held to a double, and the game only tied. If we want to point at bad outfield play last night, we need to look at DSpan playing two Torii singles into doubles. And when he had a chance to rid the bases of Torii both times, he made poor, rushed throws.

      It's clear that Willingham was never taught how to fundamentally play the outfield, and has bad habits, like drifting on the ball, and taking slow runups on charging grounders, for fear of letting them by him. I'm certain that Jerry can work with him to clean those up. He has a strong, accurate arm. He get's pretty decent jumps on flyballs, now he just needs to refine his technique.
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      He didn't look very comfortable there in the fifth inning. With two outs, a hard-hit but catchable ball was hit to the wall in left field. Willingham missed it painfully, crashing into the wall. That resulted in a three-run inside-the-park home run that blew the Twins first and only lead of the season and gave the Angels a 4-3 edge.
      I don't know I would describe that particular hit as "catchable" -- it was certainly within reach and would have required some skill to catch that ball while crashing into the wall (it's not like it was dying at the wall like the Doumit play in the first game). Overall, tough play (seen here: http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/vid...a_vid&c_id=ana). Would someone like Revere have caught that with his speed and athleticism? Possibly, but I won't hang that on Willingham. If anything, he should have tried to play the bounce instead of attempting to make that play.

      More over, his play in the fourth inning in which Albert Pujols singled to left and Howie Kendrick scored is what chapped me. If you watch the replay (http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/vid...a_vid&c_id=ana), the ball is getting to Willingham right before Kendrick gets to third base. However, Willingham is not aggressively pursuing the ball but rather coming up to it flat-footed. As such, when he realizes he has to throw home, he isn't it the best position to make a strong throw. His throw comes up just short of catching Kendrick and had he charged the ball and been in a ready position, he likely would have thrown him out.
    1. Teflon's Avatar
      Teflon -
      Imagine now the luxury of being able to have Willingham at DH.
    1. Blake's Avatar
      Blake -
      All this commentary and everyone is missing the pitching highlight of the game: The nasty slider Perkins struck Pujols out with. That pitch was a thing of beauty.
    1. Yoshii's Avatar
      Yoshii -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steve Lein View Post
      Torii's faceplant was one of the most epic I've ever seen. Super slow-mo on the Target Field scoreboards was pretty hilarious.
      Wish I could have been at the game to see it, bet that **** was hilarious.
    1. deanlambrecht's Avatar
      deanlambrecht -
      Quote Originally Posted by Teflon View Post
      Imagine now the luxury of being able to have Willingham at DH.
      Agreed. Hopefully Morneau, can get his feet under him at 1B so we have more DH options altogether. Mauer should take some reps in LF, to facilitate this. If Mauer can no longer be full time C, he needs to give us more than just 1B and DH as salary-justifying alternatives.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steve Lein View Post
      Torii's faceplant was one of the most epic I've ever seen. Super slow-mo on the Target Field scoreboards was pretty hilarious.
      The reaction(s) to the scoreboard replay were what amused me. The first time, it was more of a gasp of concern and general "Oh no!" There was a pitching change, so there was a chance for them to show it several more times, and each time the reaction moved a little more from that concern to giggling and laughter. By the final time, there was a bit of a buzz as he approached the ball as it seemed almost everyone was watching and getting ready for the wipeout. Good stuff....as long as nothing comes up where he actually injured himself. That's never fun.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      I'll also throw in my two cents to agree that the inside-the-park home run while technically "catchable" would have been a great play, not standard. He certainly gave it a full-on effort. Whether the route he took or the jump he got were ideal I don't know, but I don't think they were awful, were they? I don't think it adds anything to the opinion, but I will add that he hit the wall a couple feet from me, and that made for a pretty exciting moment! Probably should have played it off the wall, but in the split second moment that's a pretty tough call to make. Because of that, I agree that the bigger mis-play was on the Pujols RBI. He sure didn't get to it in much of a hurry.
    1. by jiminy's Avatar
      by jiminy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Teflon View Post
      Imagine now the luxury of being able to have Willingham at DH.
      Good point about Willingham's slow fielding on the Pujols rbi. He didn't seem in any hurry to throw.

      I don't see why that Bourjos fly wasn't catchable though. Willingham wasn't running hard, he just misjudged it. I think Revere would have caught it.
    1. Montecore's Avatar
      Montecore -
      10-9, bend but not break, I'll take it. Good to see M & M Hrs. And, Burnett good again.
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