Here are three "morning after" thoughts from LEN3 following the Astros' thrashing of the Twins on Tuesday.
PINEDA NOT QUITE THERE
Once again, there was clamoring on Twitter about signing certain free agents. I will offer some advice. Your life will be less stressful if you don't obsess over things you can't have. I would wait until after the draft, when compensation isn't needed. For now, teams spend April and May mostly in self-evaluation mode, seeing if their players will get better. That's where they are at with Michael Pineda. Pineda is back pitching after missing half of 2017 and all of 2018 because of Tommy John surgery. It is more than understandable that he's not going to have everything locked in upon his return.
"I think it's very normal," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "The stuff is good. The story of being able to command all of your pitches and use them all whenever you need them or want them, is something that probably comes next. He came into spring training throwing the ball pretty well. I think the slider, which we talked about being a strength of his, is there for long periods of time but is not there all the time. I think the command and feel for what Mike does up there, I think it's important and I think it's there, but it's not there all the time. One thing is he's a guy that knows himself very well. We talk about his mannerisms. We see him out there. He knows what he has to do. I think part of the frustration for him is he knows what he has to do and he's just not doing it the way he knows he can. He shows it to us for long enough spurts where we feel pretty confident that we're certainly on the right track."
What should be expected of an "in-form" Pineda. Think if he can get close to 2015, when he was 12-10, 4.37, or even 2017, when he was 8-4, 4.39 before he was injured, that is perfectly fine for someone on the back end of a rotation.
The month of April is over, the Twins are ranked high among all of the cool categories that measure offensive production. "The guys collectively swung the bats very well," Baldelli said. "Quality of the at-bats are very good. It's just maintaining and it's difficult to do. I think our guys were very good and it's hard to be that good and maintain that over a long period of time and that's why we focus more on the quality of the at bats than on the results. As long as we have those types of at-bats, we're very happy." Can the Twins keep it up?
WHAT ABOUT 'BERT?
The Twins need to figure out something with Adalberto Mejia, who is out of options but looks like someone who could use some minor league seasoning. My take is that Mejia hasn't figured out how to put hitters away yet. I've seen him get two strikes on hitters and either lose the at-bat or throw the most hittable 0-2 pitch ever. But Tuesday was another story, as he couldn't get ahead of hitters in the eighth and was charged with three earned runs. It sounds like the Twins might have had a Mejia meeting after the game and might continue discussions today.
"I think we're at a point where we kind of are going to regroup and get together and spend some time talking with him and seeing what he's feeling when he's out there," Baldelli said. "I think that's an important thing to touch on and not forget. He's still a young guy with very good stuff and a guy we're going to spend a lot of time on. He's a priority for us. There's a reason he's here and he's pitching in our bullpen. He has a lot of upside and we want to make sure we give it every opportunity to work." Eventually, Gabriel Moya and Addison Reed will be ready to see what they can do for the Twins, and room will have to be made for them. If will be interesting to see if that affects Mejia. He's got about a month to work on his 8.74 ERA.
ON TO TODAY
Martin Perez can join Jose Berrios as the only pitchers on the staff with four wins as he tries to slow down the Astros. He held Baltimore to one run over six innings on Friday, but Houston is a totally different team. Here’s one hint: Don’t give George Springer anything good to hit early in the count. He is a first pitch hacker.