16 April 2013
There might be a reason to watch Minnesota baseball, after all.
Don't mind the bullpen scrubs, pay no attention to the patchwork starting rotation, and overlook the snow-covered stadium. With another series win clinched Tuesday night -- Minnesota's third of the young season -- it's becoming clear that the Twins aren't the terrible team we thought they'd be.
Sure, they'll still struggle to keep opponents from scoring double-digits and won't be able to hold many late leads. They'll probably finish last in the division and might even lose 100 games this year, but at least there are a few reasons for hope in the midst of an otherwise gloomy season.
It's time to turn in those despondent scowls for an optimistic gaze.
Don't hold your breath, but Kevin Correia is showing signs of his former self. And not the 'former self' that punched a ticket to the All-Star Game despite having an ERA north of four. The 32-year old winter signee has thrown at least seven innings of quality ball each of the three times he's taken the mound this year. He's gotten hit around quite a bit, but the defense has gotten it done.
He pitched in Monday's arctic temperatures against Los Angeles and turned in a gem: seven innings, two runs, one walk, and five strikeouts. For Kevin Correia, that's absolutely better than we excepted.
Joe Mauer is impressing everyone again, too, knocking the ball all around Target Field. And he's not just poking singles into the outfield like he did in 2010; Mauer's slugging percentage rivals any power-hitter in the conference.
Anthony Swarzak turned in over three stellar innings of relief Tuesday night, striking out four and rescuing Mike Pelfrey from a rough night.
But, again, the season is young. Pitchers will get hurt, hitters will slump, and the team will go through a painful month or two of loss after loss. But these first few weeks have shown us that there's life on this team. Probably.
The Twins are destined for an awful year. There's no changing that. But maybe, just maybe, we can all have some fun along the way?