When I sat down to my MLB.tv earlier tonight to watch the Twins do battle with the Red Sox, I knew it was baseball season. After watching the first three innings, though, I knew we had a way to go.
Pridie in centerfield. Redmond catching. Nathan pitching the fourth inning. Some things (the realistic ones) will have to wait for another month. For now, though, Spring Training should be appreciated for exactly what its name implies – a practice.
The rosters are not Opening Day rosters. The decisions are made based on who needs more at-bats and pitches, not on game strategy. From reading some comments at various places across the Web, you’d think that Gardy deserves to be yelled at already. Hardly.
It was hard to watch the whole game from start to finish, so I did a little jumping around on the archived version of the game I watched. Here are some random thoughts I had during the game:
-I was forced to watch the game with Boston commentators. That could have been the worst part. Absolutely no mention of the Twins, except to compliment them on how they always seem to be in the think of things. I should have listened to the game with KFAN in the other ear.
-I watched Cuddyer with particular interest tonight. I am curious as to how he will view this “last-man-standing” outfield battle. There is no doubt that his defense is the worst of the four vying for the job, so will he focus on that aspect of his game the most? He had a great relay throw to Buscher at third to keep the speedy Pedroia on second base in the second inning; that much was impressive. There were other instances, however, that gave me my doubts.
-Red Sox hurler Tim Wakefield and his deadly knuckleball weren’t at their best form tonight. Did that have more to do with him not being in top form, or the Twins’ knowing how to handle pitches like those after the acquisition of R.A. Dickey. At the very least, I would hope that every batter has had the chance to chat it up with Dickey and ask him how to hit his pitches.
-The game consisted of the usual rustiness one would expect after months without a real game.
-The Red Sox had just finished an exhibition with Boston College a few hours earlier, so you could tell how important this game was.
-Spring Training is a disease; it gives you enough of a taste for baseball that you keep coming back.
Bad news on the Boof front today. According to LEN III, he will miss the entire 2009 season . If you would have told me in the middle of last year that both Bonser and Neshek would miss 2009, I would’ve probably thought that the Twins wouldn’t have had a chance.
With the addition of Ayala, however, and the progression of the rest of the bullpen, I think the Twins are in fine shape. A Cruz addition would be super, but LEN III also believes that the Twins will pull out of that sweepstakes and look to other options.
Baseball has started. Be sure to keep coming back to TwinsFix, as I’ll have much more on the Bonser situation and the start of Spring Training in the days and weeks ahead. Stay tuned.