Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Friday Game Update

I'm a day late, but to get back on the saddle I wanted to make a few short observations about yesterday's games -- hopefully observation that cover ground other than that covered by the Star Tribune or the Twins website yesterday.

1.) The first observation was covered very substantially yesterday, but it's important so I'm covering it again. I think there's a very good chance that yesterday was the day that Carlos Gomez unofficially won the starting CF job, after an excellent 2-for-5 performance that showed off his potential to get extra base hits, his speed, and his defensive ability. I suspect that Gomez was rushed to the big leagues by the Mets last year, and I would prefer if he had a chance to go to AAA to work on his swing -- but when he gets on base, he's going to be a lot of fun to watch. While Gomez was having his great day, Denard Span was going 0-for-4 and Jason Pridie 0-for-1 (in LF). I expected Gomez to win the job anyway, but a day like yesterday that showcases his abilities so effectively had to make the coaches salivate at the possibilities.

2.) Remember how I said that Randy Ruiz was somebody to watch who isn't being talked about a lot? Well, yesterday showed why. As the DH in the Toronto game, Ruiz went 3-for-4 with a monster homerun. He's now hitting .429 for the spring, has 2 homers, and to me he deserves to be in the conversation. He's essentially battling Brian Buscher and the bevy of middle infielders in camp for the second backup infielder spot (although he'd be a 1B/OF/DH type if he made the team, leaving Nick Punto and Brendan Harris to cover 3B when Mike Lamb was out). He probably won't make the team, but I'll be watching closely.

3.) Just a note -- Delmon Young is hitting .563 this spring. I can't wait to see him play in real games.

4.) The starting pitcher battle heated up a good bit yesterday. After a week or so where several contenders (Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey in particular) struggled, yesterday saw a number of guys put up pretty solid performances. Perkins (3 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 3 K's, 1 BB), Phil Humber (2 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 3 K's), Kevin Mulvey (2 innings, 0 runs, 2 K's), Nick Blackburn (2.1 innings, 0 runs, 1 walk), and of course Francisco Liriano (1.2 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 K, 1 BB) all had excellent performances. Those are the kinds of performances that fans were hoping (and expecting, I think) to see when the spring started -- and if they can keep it up, the battle for starting spots is going to be great fun.

5.) One last note -- after losing the first two games of the Mayor's Cup series to the Red Sox, the Twins have battled back to tie the series. The series will end on Wednesday, with the Twins at home and pride on the line. Honestly, few things in spring are as silly or meaningless as the Mayor's Cup -- but it's still fun to pay attention to, and this year's compressed version (due to the Red Sox trip to Japan to start the MLB season) made it a little more interesting, in my opinion.

Yesterday's Big Winner: Carlos Gomez (showcased all his talents)
Runner-Up: Randy Ruiz (3-for-4 day and showed off his power)

Yesterday's Big Loser: Denard Span (0-for-4 day bad in comparison to Gomez)
Runner-Up: Tommy Watkins (0-for-2 day leaves him still hitless this Spring)

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