Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Sweep! Sweep!! Sweep!!!
It's three wins in three nights for the Minnesota Twins. They're atop the division after the first series of the season and things are looking good. Coming into the season, we knew the Twins offense would be potent - we had the batting champion coming back, the MVP who hit 34 home runs, and even Rondell White had a good spring. The starting rotation was the big question mark. After Cy Young winner Johan Santana all the Twins had was Boof Bonser - a second year pitcher who was only 7-6 last season, retreads Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson, and a very questionable Carlos Silva. Many fans wanted to see rising stars Matt Garza and Glenn Perkins make the team out of spring training.
After three games, the pitching looks pretty good. Santana was pretty good in his first outing, getting the win opening day while pitching 6 innings, giving up 4 runs, and striking out 6. Santana will round into form as the season progresses and will once again be lights-out after the All-Star break. Boof had an excellent first outing. He had a no decision yesterday but pitched 6 strong innings, allowing 2 runs, and striking out 6.
Tonight was the big test. Ramon Ortiz dominated the Orioles from start to finish. He pitched 7 innings, giving up only 5 hits and 2 runs, and striking out 4. He struggled with his control a little in the early innings, throwing first pitch strikes to only 3 of the first 11 hitters, and going deep into many counts. Once he gained his command he breezed through the Orioles lineup. Clearly throwing early strikes will be the key for Ortiz.
Now, the Orioles are not the best barometer of a pitching staff; that team is definitely going to struggle this season. The real test will come this weekend when the Twins hit the road to take on the Chicago White Sox. They'll have the end of the rotation taking the hill against a very potent lineup. Then when they return home we'll see how Boof and Ortiz fare against the New York Yankees.
Twins 7, Orioles 2 (Twins now 3-0)
Brewers 4, Dodgers 5 (Brew Crew now 2-1)
Reds 1, Cubs 4 (Reds now 1-1)