Souhan blog: A lost weekend in Baltimore

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • April 8, 2012 - 4:41 PM

The Twins managed five runs in 27 innings against a last-place team and three starting pitchers the average fan has never heard of.

What was even more alarming to me was the mistakes that were made this weekend. Danny Valencia was a mess at third. Josh Willingham made a couple of nice plays (one strong throw and one brave collision with the wall) in left but also made two errors in two innings.

Sunday, reliever Matt Maloney didn't hold runners well, and Luke Hughes didn't hold the runner on second, and the Orioles executed a double steal that had the Twins' staff steaming.

Saturday, Jared Burton gave up two home runs on changeups even though the scouting report said not to throw changeups to the hitters in question, meaning catcher Joe Mauer and Burton weren't paying attention.

Quickly, to the positives from the weekend:

1. Jamey Carroll is a wonderful fielder. He may lack exceptional range, but he makes every play within his grasp.

2. Justin Morneau swung the bat with authority, hitting two doubles and two more deep drives. He looks like a slightly skinnier version of his old self, and it's obvious moving him to DH has relieved a lot of stress on him.

3. Sean Burroughs is the gamer the Twins have been saying he is. He made two fine plays at third on Sunday, one a basket catch over his head in foul territory that required a slide on the harsh surface of the warning track, and a fine diving stab to his left.

I grew up watching Brooks Robinson and Mark Belanger in Baltimore, and reading Brooks' books, and he always said that great plays started with anticipation. That's Valencia's problem: He's thinking about his last at-bat, and by the time he reacts to the ball it's too late.

4. Anthony Swarzak could pitch in the big leagues for a long time because of his attitude. He never complains about his role, and on Sunday, pitching for the ill Liam Hendriks, he gave the Twins five strong innings.

5. Glen Perkins pitched well in his lone inning of the weekend.

The Twins are 63-106 in their last 169 meaningful games, and now will play their next 16 games against the Angels, Rangers, Yankees, Rays and Red Sox.

Baseball seasons are like major championships: You can't win them early, but you can lose them early. The Twins are in danger of falling out of contention before the end of the month.


I'm writing about the Twins' home opener, and comparing the Twins to the Orioles' franchise, in tomorrow's paper. Here's my column off Saturday's game:

Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.


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