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Thoughts After One Series

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#1 stringer bell

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:24 PM

1) The Twins aren't very good. The White Sox aren't very good.

2) Trevor Plouffe had more good at-bats in three days than he has had in any of several months. He still managed to make a bad throw and get thrown out at home, but Plouffe just might be a good enough hitter to keep around .

3) For veteran players, spring training means nothing. For others, it doesn't mean much.

4) The Twins were within an eyelash of winning two of three despite their two best hitters going 1-23.

5) A leaky bullpen and a parade of 3-5 starters doesn't make me feel great about the pitching.

6) Maybe we fans should ignore the results of the last two games because the games were played in horrible conditions.

7) Minnesota isn't going to be winning many games if they keep getting out-homered by a 6-1 ratio.

#2 Don't Feed the Greed Guy

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:36 PM

#4 is the good news. #7 is the bad news, methinks...

#3 twinsfan34

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 11:03 PM

Was encouraged by Aaron Hicks this weekend. He didn't look out of place in any of the at bats I saw...only missed 2 at bats.

#4 mikecgrimes

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 05:36 AM

If guys like Colebello Suzuki and Hicks can hit for any average at all we might be decent. I expect a lot out of Hicks the other two would be huge suprises if they hit .260. The nice thing is Colebello doesn't have to do a lot to equal what Mourneau gave us last year.

#5 pierre75275

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 05:53 AM

Was thrilled with the series Hicks and Colabello had. Hopefully that continues for both

#6 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 06:43 AM

I honestly saw a LOT of positives in this series. Plouffe looked very mature at the plate. Hicks looked comfortable and confident. Colo and Kubel could be very decent if they continue their platoon. I think we can adjust our lineup a bit now:

Hicks
Dozier
Mauer
Hammer
Kubel/Colo
Plouffe
Arcia
Suzuki
Floriman

Upgrades at SS and LF could make this lineup very solid. As is I think we could play .500 ball if our pitching succeeds.

#7 Linus

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 06:49 AM

While he didn't have a great series, I really liked the way Arcia approached his final two at bats yesterday. He was at the plate looking to do damage, not coax a walk or hit blooper the other way. His attitude at the plate is clearly different than the rest of the lineup.

#8 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 07:28 AM

While he didn't have a great series, I really liked the way Arcia approached his final two at bats yesterday. He was at the plate looking to do damage, not coax a walk or hit blooper the other way. His attitude at the plate is clearly different than the rest of the lineup.


Couldn't agree more. And I liked that he didn't a great catch in his second to last at bat effect his last one. I think .250 with a very healthy slugging % is in the cards for Oswaldo this year.

#9 thetank

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 07:49 AM

Yesterday was a relief. Losing 3 would have been a downer. Will Hughes have a decent season?

#10 Winston Smith

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 07:59 AM

#1. Very hard to draw anything from a series against a bad team like the Sucks. But the defense and the "little things" continue to be suspect will show up a lot more against better teams, imo.

#5. Our pitching was supposed to be the team strength and didn't look good at all against a suspect Sox offense. Hope small sample size.

#8. The White Sox are a very bad team (terrible bullpen) but we stayed right with them, is that something to hang our hats on?

#9. I'm not sure the Indians will be much better. I'm thinking what they did last year was an outlier rather than a trend. I hope this isn't a weekend of bad baseball we've seen enough of that over the last 3 years.
This comment brought to you from the Rosedale Mall studio by Hamm's Beer, brewed in the land of sky blue waters.

#11 gunnarthor

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:19 AM

I tend to agree on most of this - we are probably going to lose 90 but how Hicks, Arcia, Gibson and Pinto develop is more important to the future. I liked what we saw out of Hicks and Arcia in their few at-bats. Hicks looked like he had a plan, Arcia hit some really hard outs. If those two can stick in the OF and then we add Buxton, that's a nice future.

Kubel is a big surprise. I know it's only a few games but he looked just fine. He could be a nice trade chip at the deadline for someone looking to add LH power.

Collabello - last year one of mlbtr's writers wrote something basically hoping that Collebello turns into a Jose Bautista-lite. After all, it happens sometimes and the Twins were due for some luck. So, let's hope.

#12 Halsey Hall

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:20 AM

First thing is we scored some runs. That's got to ease the starters minds alot. They won't have to be perfect to win a game.

My concern about Burton and Perkins getting hammered this spring just continued. Saves could be way down this year, and blown saves up. Lady Luck got us a win.

#13 PseudoSABR

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:22 AM

I'm really thankful for the bullpen depth in AAA this year. We'll need. Our bullpen's have been short lived smoke and mirror routines; and we'll have to cycle the tricks to keep success going.

I was encouraged by those swing-miss strikes and strikeouts by Hughes; now if he could limit that long ball... I think he'll have a lot of success at home.

I think the bench is better than it has been in the past, while it would be nice to have the promise of presley or parmelee, but it the Twins may have made the right call with bringing along Colabello and Kubel. Still don't really understand Bartlett over Presley (beyond Presley's poor attitude...)

I'm worried about Willingham.

#14 stringer bell

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:23 AM

I can't remember how many times last year when the Twins won games when they were behind and facing the closer in the ninth inning. It wasn't many. Obviously, Chicago's closer isn't an All-Star, but he was designated the closer and the Twins beat him.

#15 longstrangetrip

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:24 AM

I think #6 is my biggest takeaway...weather was terrible. For example, I don't think Glen Perkins tops out at 91 now. But I also agree with many of the posts here and am optimistic about improvement in Plouffe, Hicks and Arcia. Man, did Arcia's balls to CF carry...he's a strong man! I also enjoy his fiery attitude...loved the spontaneous celebration at 3b...although I don't know if Gardy does.

At the and of the year when we do our postmortem, I think we will say this: We both hit and pitched better this year, and improved to be a .500 ballclub. Now we need the phenoms to put us over the top.

#16 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:34 AM

I'm really thankful for the bullpen depth in AAA this year.


Yep. You just can't trust a bullpen year-to-year. The only way to overcome the ups and downs of bullpens is through sheer quantity of arms. Thankfully, I think the Twins have a pretty decent stable of quality arms. Over the course of the season, they'll figure it out but the first few weeks could be ugly while that happens.

Then again, that applies to pretty much every team in baseball.

#17 jharaldson

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:39 AM

It's just one series but I kind of flinch when I go to the stat leaders and the top 2 homerun guys in the AL are there because they just mashed our pitching.

Attached File  hrleaders.jpg   23.31KB   110 downloads

#18 nicksaviking

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:43 AM

The pitching was upgraded, but it's still shakey.

Good news is that Trevor Plouffe looked like Brian Dozeir from last year. The bad of course is that Dozeir looked like Plouffe from last year.

#19 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:50 AM

The pitching was upgraded, but it's still shakey.

Good news is that Trevor Plouffe looked like Brian Dozeir from last year. The bad of course is that Dozeir looked like Plouffe from last year.


Count me in the optimism column that believes Plouffe has finally figured it out and Dozer is just getting his spring feet wet. However...
Dozier needs to be in the 2 hole with Hicks leading off. That way, with Hicks on base and Mauer behind him, Dozier will get plenty of nice pitches to hit. Whether Mauer gets anything with Hammer backing him remains to be seen.

#20 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:03 AM

Count me in the optimism column that believes Plouffe has finally figured it out and Dozer is just getting his spring feet wet. However...
Dozier needs to be in the 2 hole with Hicks leading off. That way, with Hicks on base and Mauer behind him, Dozier will get plenty of nice pitches to hit. Whether Mauer gets anything with Hammer backing him remains to be seen.


I think Hicks needs to stay right where he is until he builds up enough confidence and consistency to move up the lineup. Let the kid get into a groove.

#21 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:19 AM

I think Hicks needs to stay right where he is until he builds up enough confidence and consistency to move up the lineup. Let the kid get into a groove.


Hicks looks very comfortable and confident to start the year. It took him a long time to look that way last year (did he ever?). Bottom line is the team needs him to leadoff and he looks capable right now. If you want to give him another series or two to build confidence, then maybe try Plouffe leading off? It's either that or plug Suzuki back into the 2 hole; worked for a game but not a good long term idea. Doz - Mauer - Hammer just isn't potent enough to lead our lineup.

#22 Trautmann13

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:26 AM

My initial thoughts are:

1. Bullpen is getting me a little nervous (but it was like 30 out, so not too worried)

2. Nolasco and Hughes had decent first starts. (If they keep the ball in the park...ooh boy what they could do.)

3.Top of lineup needs to find something.

4.Bottom of the lineup needs to keep it up

5. Twins may just be good enough for 70 wins this year

#23 zwiefz

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:49 AM

I think it's awful hard to make too many conclusions about the pitching from this series. Overall, I think all three starters basically had one rough inning but otherwise pitched well enough to give some hope. In particular it was nice to see Hughes have 7 K's. Yes, he gave up two home runs, but we knew he was a flyball pitcher and Chicago has been nearly as much of a bandbox as Yankee Stadium so I'm not surprised by that.

I think the main issue with the bullpen was that they had to pitch cold. I mean that as a two fold statement. Obviously, the weather was not conducive to getting warmed up well and get a good feel for their pitches. But also, I don't think the bullpen pitchers got the same work in throughout spring training because so much attention was given to the starters. Bullpen arms need to get in the groove of pitching every couple of days or every day in the case of a closer like Perkins. They definitely did not get that in spring training.

I think the pitching will be fine after a few series and a little warmer weather so they can actually feel their fingertips.

#24 blindeke

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:52 AM

That Lindstrom pitch that Arcia mashed in the 9th was actually a decent pitch, low on the outside corner. If he can destroy a pitch like that, imagine what Arcia can do to a mistake.

Pinto looked good yesterday too. He has a great swing. I hope he gets some more ABs and starts behind the plate. Maybe once Clutch Suzuki slumps?

#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:03 AM

Hicks looks very comfortable and confident to start the year. It took him a long time to look that way last year (did he ever?). Bottom line is the team needs him to leadoff and he looks capable right now. If you want to give him another series or two to build confidence, then maybe try Plouffe leading off? It's either that or plug Suzuki back into the 2 hole; worked for a game but not a good long term idea. Doz - Mauer - Hammer just isn't potent enough to lead our lineup.


I think you just let things sit pat for another week or two. Let Mauer and Willingham loosen up and see if they start hitting. No need for knee-jerk reactions after one series in pretty miserable weather.

#26 Head First

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:14 AM

I think Hicks needs to stay right where he is until he builds up enough confidence and consistency to move up the lineup. Let the kid get into a groove.


I'm all for that.

#27 tmerrickkeller

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:14 AM

My takeaway from the first series is:

1) Way too many mental errors and fundamental mistakes. I cringed way too often (see 9th inning yesterday; instead of 2-outs no one on, we have 1-out man on 3rd with bad play in the field and then a throwing mistake that put the guy 90 feet away)
2) Hoping much of that can be blamed on the weather (to me, it was much more about the wind than the temps) (see 9th inning yesterday)
3) Pleased to see the starts from a lot of guys - Kubel, Colabello, Suzuki, Hicks, Arcia, Pinto, Plouffe. I'm not worried that Dozier or Mauer won't hit. Even Hammer getting on base helps because I do worry he might be more susceptible to frustration and believing the "am I too old? Is it really over?" doubts.
4) We at least won one. Big difference between 1-2 and 0-3, especially against CWS.
5) But the biggest thing for me, that hasn't been said, is that I am so much more optimistic about Pelfrey and Gibson starting the next two games than I ever was about our 4th and 5th starters at any point in the last 3 years. I think those guys can line up against the 4th and 5th guys of other teams and give us a solid chance to win.

#28 spycake

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:39 AM

2) Trevor Plouffe had more good at-bats in three days than he has had in any of several months. He still managed to make a bad throw and get thrown out at home, but Plouffe just might be a good enough hitter to keep around .


Yeah. Even though he's been streaky, and usually streaky bad rather than streaky good, Plouffe still managed to be a near league average hitter in over 500 PA last year. If he's also an average defender at 3B (and B-Ref thought he was last year, FanGraphs not so much), that's a reasonable value player, certainly worthy of a modest salary and lineup spot on a poor team, possibly even a utility spot on a better team.

#29 Chance

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:40 AM

This article should be titled premature speculation. I'm not complaining, I love premature speculation. You can overreact and talk about patience at the same time!

#30 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:41 AM

I think you just let things sit pat for another week or two. Let Mauer and Willingham loosen up and see if they start hitting. No need for knee-jerk reactions after one series in pretty miserable weather.


I agree about not wanting to react to quickly after one whole series, although I and many others could see a problem with our 1-2-3 even before the season started. You're right, though, nothing wrong with letting things play out for a couple weeks to get a better picture of things.

I just love playing with lineups. In a perfect world we could even drop Dozier to the 7 hole and go:

Hicks
Mauer
Colobello/Hammer
Arcia/Kubel
Plouffe
Dozier
Suzuki/Pinto
Floriman

That moves Hicks to his natural spot (in this lineup), gets Mauer more ABs, allows whichever RH bat is hotter to support him in the 3 spot, and gets Dozier's bat to the bottom of the order for balance.