That’s More Like It

2010 Game 2: Twins 5, Angels 3

Nick Blackburn sounded like a happy pitcher after last night’s win (as quoted by Joe Christensen):

“I think we’re going to have some pretty good offensive games this year,” said Blackburn, who threw 103 pitches in 62/3 innings for the victory.

The pretty good offensive game this time around included three home runs. The first was a two-run shot off the bat of Joe Mauer in the first inning, which combined with Delmon Young’s sac fly later in the inning gave the Twins a 3-0 lead before the Angels had a chance to bat.

The other two home runs for the Twins were solo. Justin Morneau hit one in the third, and J.J. Hardy hit one in the fourth. The Twins didn’t score the rest of the game, but didn’t need to.

Blackburn got into some trouble in the early innings. He issued walks to the first two batters he faced. A couple of well-placed double plays got him out of trouble, however, and he seemed to settle down in the later innings.

Notes from Game 2:

-I though it was a bit out of character for Ron Gardenhire to even float the possibility of a bullpen-by-committee approach earlier in the spring. True to form, he went with his ninth inning guy in a save situation. Rauch looked good, and overall the Twins’ bullpen has looked very good in two games, save a two home run hiccup in Game 1.

-When Delmon Young worked a 3-0 count in the first inning it looked as though the Twins might get a first inning run walked home. After Joe Saunders worked the count full, and Young eventually hit the sac fly, either Dick or Bert made the comment that basically if you expected Young to walk the run home in that scenario, you aren’t really aware of his general approach and plate discipline, citing his 12 total walks in 416 plate appearances last season.

-Torii Hunter was just about the only Angel who seemed to know how to handle Nick Blackburn. He knocked in all three of the Angel runs. The only unsuccessful plate appearance for Hunter was his first inning GIDP which likely cost his team at least one run.

-I watched the bulk of the game on my DVR, so between fast forward and “mute” mode I didn’t have to hear all of the birthday silliness. Still, based on images alone, my only critique of last night’s broadcast is too many snuggy shots.

-Stars of the game according to FanGraphs WPA:
1. Nick Blackburn
2. Torii Hunter
3. Joe Mauer

-Central Standings through Tuesday (W-L, R-RA, GB)
1. Chi 1-0, 6-0, –
2. Det 1-0, 8-4, –
3. Min 1-1, 8-9, 0.5
4. KC 0-1, 4-8, 1
5. Cle 0-1, 0-6, 1

-Tonight’s probables: Carl Pavano vs Ervin Santana


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