I am giving the first weeks now, as everyone in the rotation has had a turn to pitch. The team is 4-2 which considering the questions of their rotation, that is pretty good. However, there are some glaring problems that are driving me nuts and causing concerns. The Twins have a fairly easy first month schedule and if the can get a .600 – .700 record, we would be in great shape. I think this team’s season will play out in the first month. We could see the great potential or the roller coaster ride of pitching and defensive woes.
But, let’s begin . . .
Starting pitching: B+
I don’t see are reason why this shouldn’t be an A without Sidney Ponson’s horrible start last night. Cy-tana was lighting it up on Sunday, to the point that if he gives a couple of more April starts like Sunday’s they will be giving him the Cy Young Award and possibly the MVP this year. Bonser was solid, which is what to suspect from him. He probably won’t be dominate, but he will take his turn pitch six to seven quality innings almost every night. He will keep the team in the game. Tonight, will be a tough test for him against the Yankees, but if he succeeds by getting his six and keeping them to three runs or less, I am ecstatic. Ortiz showed he will not give up the big inning this first time around, versus his next opponent the Yankees. Silva can pitch in short sleeves in the cold, which is pretty cool, but can he be consistent. Can Ponson rebound? We will be waiting on the last two in the rotation until the end of the month before the A is given to this group.
Starting Lineup: C+
Four players are hitting. Luis Castillo knows how to hit the ball into the ground and Punto and Bartlett still haven’t figured that out. Maybe they watched the old commercial of "Chicks dig the long ball." Mauer, Cuddyer, and Morneau are at least hitting and hitting when they need to. Hunter can’t hit in pressure situations, but will tatoo the ball when no one is on or the game is out of hand. Kubel/Cirillo/White/Tyner are not getting solid contact on anything. Kubel should be fine once given regular time. That means PLAY HIM GARDY. This guy can hit BETTER than Mauer with Morneau’s power. Let him hit. Otherwise, the team isn’t hitting. Nothing is dropping.
Well, we have some major gaffs here, but a lot of good. The only reason for the B- grade is Cuddyer still doesn’t know how to run the bases and Bartlett doesn’t feel he needs to actually play well to stay with this team. Otherwise, Gardy has them running and running often which is good. And everyone not named Bartlett have been fielding their position except Kubel needs to either play outfield and get a chance to run around or DH, stop flip-flopping people Gardy. You are smart enough to make crazy decisions like that.
Reyes is scaring me, but everyone else is on track to dominate again. Nathan is strong as ever. Rincon/Crain/Neshek are pitching lights out and Guerrier has 6 innings already of 3 two inning outings. It is crazy how good these guys are. If Ponson or Silva falter, I think Guerrier may be given a spot start. If he does, he may keep it. We could then bring up Perkins to be the long reliever for this year with the idea he takes a starting role next year.
I am not sold that Ponson or Silva will make it the entire year. I am seeing Ponson gone within the month and Silva sent to the bullpen for mop-up duty. I just don’t see them being anything more than rentals for Garza, Perkins, Slowey, Baker, or Gassner. Otherwise, the team is playing decent but need to shore a few things up. Once they do, we will be the team to beat, competing with Cleveland for the Central Title.