Friday, April 1, 2011
Opening Day is Here!
Almost 6 months ago, the Twins were bounced once again by the Yankees in the postseason. And at long last, they hit the field to begin their 2011 season. They start the season in Toronto and then go to New York before opening up their home schedule April 8th against Oakland. So here's what you should and should not expect from Opening Day for the beloved Twins.
What You Should Expect-A Lot of Offense. Pitchers are very vulnerable early in the season. And on Opening Day, they are pitching with lots of butterflies and adrenaline. Despite Carl Pavano's great spring stats (2-1, 2.16 ERA, 25 IP), he pitches to contact. And Toronto is a very hitters friendly ballpark. The Jays did end up leading the major leagues in the home run category (257), last season. But the Twins also possess a good lineup and should be firing right back against the young and inexperienced Jays rotation during the Opening Series. So in this series, look for 5-7 runs to go up on the board for both teams.
What You Should NOT Expect-Great Things From Justin Morneau. Despite being cleared to play, one should not expect Morneau to do much during the opening series. He had a short spring, and he looks like he is still trying to get his timing down. But, I could be dead wrong here. Morneau could get very fired up to exercise his demons (He suffered his concussion in Toronto last year), he could tear the cover off the ball. We just don't know yet. But if he has a series where he say gets 1-3 hits in 12-15 at bats, please don't use the "He hasn't fully recovered from his concussion" excuse. He is ready to go. It would just be more of a getting into rhythm type of deal. So keep your expectations low.
Twins Player to Watch: Delmon Young. In his career against the Jays, Young has hit .309, with 6 home runs and 18 RBI with a .494 slugging percentage. And at Rogers Centre he has an even better .322 AVG, with 3 HR, 10 RBI, and a .522 slugging percentage. Last year Delmon was a huge factor in the Twins success, and from what I've heard he has strengthened his upper body giving him more power. So if he can get the ball up in the air in Toronto look for him to hit a couple of home runs and help the Twins get a opening series victory.
Jays Player to Watch: Edwin Encarnacion. Last year, the Jays had great success against the Twins. A big reason for that was Encarnacion. In 2010 alone, he hit .483, with 7 HR, and 14 RBI with a 1.758 OPS. To compare how ridiculous that last number was, Encarnacion's season OPS was .787. So as you can see, he loved playing the Twins. Also in his career, Encarnacion has hit .389 against the Twins. So if he can continue his success against the Twins, it could be a long series for the visiting team.
One last thing before you leave. Please sit back and enjoy Opening Day. This day is like a holiday. Just appreciate the fact baseball, and mainly the Twins, are back. There are 161 other games we can over analyze. Just leave this one alone.