Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
Maybe the best thing about the Twins four games in New York is that all of the bad things you imagined happening during the series didn't actually talk place. The Twins showed some of their flaws without totally self-destructing, and even handled adversity a few times with reasonable grace. The shortcomings were some of the typical ones: An inability to get big hits in some key situations and the failure of two starting pitchers who need to up their games to keep their spots.
As La Velle points out in his postgame blog, the Twins should be kicking themselves for not taking Thursday night's game and winning three of four in New York.
But you can be an optimist, take that as progress and not an argument from me -- even if the Yankees are scuffling, as they tend to do early in the season and even if it was painful to watch the Twins let Phil Hughes, New York's version of Francisco Liriano, off the hook after scoring four runs against him in the first inning of the series-ender.
As the Twins move on, I'm interested in seeing how some things play out.
*What happens when Brian Dozier is deemed ready for the majors? I assume the Twins want him to play shortstop rather than second base because that's where he's been in 11 of the 14 games that he's played. Does that mean Jamey Carroll moves to second base, where he's played for more than half of his major league innings, or does he become the three-position reserve in the infield while Alexi Casilla stays at second? Whatever happens, it explains why the Twins didn't sweat demoting Luke Hughes even though he's out of options.
*I'll assume that Dozier would replace one of the 13 pitchers on the roster, but what happens to Chris Parmelee if Justin Morneau plays more at first base? Does he go back to Rochester to play regularly, or does he have enough value and still get enough playing time to warrant staying with the Twins? He's more than doing OK right now and his status makes for interesting speculation. Plus, the Twins first base situation at Rochester is being handled by nothing more than minor-league placeholders, not prospects.
*What happens when Matt Capps comes in to protect a one-run lead in the ninth? He was fine with a four-run lead on Monday but turned 6-4 into 6-5 on Wednesday, and came pretty close to giving up a second home run on the game's final out.
*Is Glen Perkins as healthy as he looked Thursday night? If so, that was a slick eighth inning, all the more because it looked like he was getting nothing on the inside corner from the home plate umpire.
*Should Denard Span get bonus pay for playing center field between Wham! Bam! Willingham! and Ryan Doumit? (I ask that in good humor, knowing that if Morneau is the DH and Joe Mauer catches, that's how you get Doumit's bat in the lineup?)
That's all for now. Being five games under .500 at 4-9 instead as ugly as being five games under at 2-7. When I stop to think about it, slogging toward .500 feels a little sad. So I'm choosing not to think about that right now.
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