Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Starting Well: Angels 6, Twins 3
Between him, Justin Morneau, and Michael Cuddyer, the Twins have something that resembles a solid offense, last year posting an above-league-average 103 OPS+. While they won't blow anybody over (there are too many other iffy positions, in particular, shortstop and third aren't too hot), they also aren't pushovers.
Weaver held all that offensive prowess off pretty effectively, with arguably Justin Morneau's infield single being misjudged by the official scorer; Brandon Wood overran the ball, and it bounced under his glove and behind him. I scribbled it in as an E5 on my scorecard, anyway, only to have the scoreboard overrule me. Anyway, Weaver got his trademark strikeouts, including five against left-handed batters (two on leadoff man Denard Span alone), previously his nemesis. A righty, Delmon Young, gave him the most trouble, yanking a ball out of the yard to temporarily tie the game 2-2 in the second.
Wood complicated his bad defensive game with a terrible night at the plate, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his 2010 opener. I can't say I was all that surprised.
After Young's two-run second-inning outburst, the Angels immediately untied the game in the third with an uncharacteristic Jeff Mathis solo blast in the left field power alley. Twins starter Scott Baker, who has has had a lot of trouble with the Angels over the years, left the game after only 4.2 innings, the knockout blow being Hideki Matsui's RBI single.
Matsui himself had a fine night, blowing away pretty much everyone's expectations with a pair of RBIs (he led off the eighth with a solo homer against reliever Jose Mijares) and the aforesaid single, the former being the winning run. The Japanese sporting press was out in force, and I encountered some of them in the concourse near the home plate Angels store. I did spy one guy wearing a hiragana (I believe) Matsui uniform who wasn't Japanese; but the evidence for a large-scale outpouring of instant Matsui love as measured by visible merch was largely missing.
Fernando Rodney managed a scoreless eighth, and somehow immediately validated my feeling of his signing being a mistake. Even though he only surendered a leadoff walk, it was four straight, and while he faced the minimum, it somehow felt like a lot more at the time. He reminded me instantly of Esteban Yan, both physically and in the sloppy way he pitched.
Finally, another word on the food: I checked out CHIX in section 103: even their salad has chicken "twists" which are breaded and fried. Thanks, no, I'll be trying elsewhere. I ended up getting a chicken sausage dog at one of the adjoining stands, discarding the bun as is my recent wont.
And we're both on the same page with Rodney. Esteban Yan is exactly who I compared him to the day we acquired him.