Sunday, April 18, 2010

Twins Off to a Fast Start

“Orlando Hudson smacked a high fastball into the left field bleachers to lead off the bottom of the seventh on Saturday.


That’s when Usain Bolted. Hudson took one step, calculated trajectory and ball speed, tossed his bat, put his head down and sprinted like a man who is late for the bus and lacks cab fare.”

This quote from Jim Souhan, found in today’s Sports Sunday section of the Star Tribune not only describes O-Dawg’s reaction to what would eventually be a game winning homerun in yesterday’s win over the Royals. It also fittingly describes the beginning to the Twins 2010 season.

The Twins began the much anticipated 2010 season with a bang, winning 3 out of 4 in Anaheim against an Angels team that they have struggled against for what seems like forever (39-55 in the last 10 years, including 17-28 at Angel Stadium). They haven’t slowed down since.

The Twins are currently leading the league with a record of 9-3 and with a win yesterday, officially won their 4th consecutive series to begin the season. This marks something the Twins have never done in the 50 years they have been in Minnesota, a feat not even accomplished the '87 and '91 seasons when they won their World Series titles.

This also puts the Twins in some very elite company across the league. The only other team in baseball who has already won their first 4 series of the season is the Yankees, last year’s World Series champions, marking the first time they have done so since Gehrig and Ruth donned the middle of the Yankee batting order in 1926. In case you were wondering, the Yankees went on to lose 4 games to 3 to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1926 World Series, one year before going 110-44 and being regarded as quite possibly the greatest baseball team of all-time.

The Cardinals, Phillies & Giants could also become winners of their first 4 series with wins today.

The Twins have not only gotten off to a great start, but have been extremely entertaining to watch. Clearly the “giddy” feeling associated with the opening of a new ballpark has yet to wear off, and playing well should keep that spirit alive.

The new additions to this year’s team are starting to get into the act with Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson both homering in yesterday’s ballgame. For Thome, his towering blast into the pine trees beyond the center field wall was his second of the year, and Hudson’s shot off of the second deck facing in left was his first. JJ Hardy has also been a solid contributor offensively thus far, while also playing flawless defense.

Pair that with solid pitching and the offensive contributions from the rest of the lineup, and this Twins team looks like everything I expected them to be throughout my offseason optimism.

In addition to my optimism moving forward, I have couple of observations after watching the first 5 full games at Target Field:

  • We have not yet seen how Target Field will play on a day-to-day basis. The wind has seemingly been different during almost every game thus far, sometimes even changing as the game progresses. It has seemed that during day games, the wind has been coming in from right and blowing out to left. Even with this wind, people were beginning to talk as if Target Field was going to be a pitchers park, until yesterday when the ball was flying out of the yard like crazy. My thoughts are that it will be fairly neutral as the season progresses, although I believe more homeruns will be hit on humid days when the temperature is a bit higher.
  • Day games that begin a bit later in the afternoon or night games that begin a bit early may pose a bit of a problem for outfielders in the later innings as the sun goes down. This was something I noticed on opening day from about the 6th or 7th inning on as the sun came through gaps between the second and third levels and just barely peeked over the canopy between home plate and first base. This was later confirmed by comments from Mike Cameron, Kevin Youkilis and Denard Span. This shouldn’t pose much of a problem throughout the season as the Twins are only scheduled to play 6 games beginning at 3:10 and 4 beginning at 6:10.

My apologies for the length of time between this post and my last post, I had every intention of posting something around Thursday, but became a bit busy and it got pushed back until now. I will resume my former pace and hopefully post more in the coming weeks.

Please feel free to comment or e-mail me with any feedback or suggestions, but in terms of topics and anything related to the blog. I appreciate receiving feedback and accept it openly. If you enjoy reading, tell your friends!

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