This week we have Nick Nelson from Nick’s Twins Blog. Make you visit the site this week and show some BSR love.
So how is the new home? Will the Twins ultimately miss the friendly confines of the Homer Dome?
I’ve been to Target Field three times so far and it’s a gorgeous ballpark. So far the Twins seem to be enjoying it, as they’ve posted a 9-3 record there thus far and are coming off their first sweep of the season, over the division rival Tigers. Certainly Target Field doesn’t exhibit the same level of quirkiness as the Metrodome, but with its shortened right field porch it is built to support the type of lefty-heavy lineup the Twins trot out.
What’s the status on Mauer? Will he be a factor in the series vs the O’s?
Mauer is still considered day-to-day with a bruised heel. Ron Gardenhire hasn’t given many hints as to when Mauer will return (in fact, I’m not sure even Gardy knows — he has said that he’s relying on Joe to let him know when he’s ready to go). If I had to guess, I’d say Mauer probably will not play in this series. This Wilson Ramos kid who is filling in for him can hit the ball a little bit too, though.
The Twins seem to have a strong lineup… are there any weaknesses?
To be honest, not really. The top of the order is lethal, with Denard Span and Orlando Hudson both sporting very high OBP figures and being followed up by some serious mashers in Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and — when healthy — Mauer. Jason Kubel has struggled over the first month of the season but was arguably the best DH in the league last year and remains an imposing threat every time he steps into the box. J.J. Hardy had a slow first month, as is typical for him, but he’s been coming on lately and it’s nice to have a bat with that type of upside occupying the bottom part of the lineup.
What Twins pitcher(s) do you think the O’s will have their best chance of success?
Well, it’s certainly not Francisco Liriano. The kid has been on fire early in the season, earning AL Pitcher of the Month honors in April thanks to a string of 23 consecutive scoreless innings. We’re not ready to declare him back in 2006 form, but he’s been spectacular. Carl Pavano has been sharp and Kevin Slowey, while struggling to pitch deep into games, has yet to have a truly bad outing. Scott Baker is probably the weakest arm the Orioles will face, but he’s a notorious slow starter and is likely to get on track soon.
Many O’s fans have put their faith in GM Andy McPhail. Do Twins fans view him favorably?
I think most people do. MacPhail oversaw two World Championships here in Minnesota. Of course, he also sent the team into its mid-90s doldrums before leaving for Chicago, so perhaps folks don’t have the fondest parting memories of him.
Extra Credit- Whatever happened to the once mighty Billy Heywood?
He fell into a spiral of depression after seeing Ken Griffey Jr. rob Lou Collins of that big home run. Apparently he’s in such a bad place right now that he’s actually a Timberwolves season ticket holder. We pray for him.