Sunday, April 3, 2011

Twins at Blue Jays: Working out the Rust

Friday: Twins a little - Blue Jays a lot (3-13)
Saturday: Twins 1 - Blue Jays 6
Sunday: Twins 4 - Blue Jays 3

Record: 1-2

There was a lot of rust for the Twins this series, but Sunday's win kept it from being a complete clunker.

Forgive me, I'm experiencing some rustiness. I haven't done a series recap in so long, I had to look up posts from a year ago to remember how.

Obviously, I'm not the only one who has some rust to work out. Pavano, Manship, D. Hughes looked very rusty. Liriano didn't look so sharp either.

It's hard to tell if Nishioka is suffering from rust or jitters. He's made some mistakes at second; some of them costly. I'm willing to give him a whole bunch of slack because he's got a lot to learn very quickly, but, man, some of those mental mistakes are hard to watch. I hope he's the type who learns from his mistakes and works hard to avoid them in the future. Anyway, I don't mean to be terribly critical; it's only been three games. I'm sure he'll settle in soon and be just fine.

Of course, the owner of the most rust was Joe Nathan. And understandably so. That save, which is his first since Oct. 3, 2009, was probably the most difficult, nerve-racking, excruciating, stressful, heart-thumping, nail-biting, prayer-inducing, hair-pulling, oh-my-god-Joe-just-get-him-out pleading performance I've ever witnessed. It very well could be a good thing it was that way. He had to have been extremely nervous, excited, and scared. And, though it wasn't a pretty save, he certainly earned it. It must have been a great boost to his confidence to face that challenge, stumble but not fall, and finally complete it mostly intact. All with Gardy believing in him enough to let him get that far (although you know he was done after that last batter). I'm sure Joe will be better next time. The only concern now is how his elbow feels after throwing that many pitches. Let's hope for the best, of course.

Another guy with more rust that the others is Justin Morneau. This series takes him back to the place where he suffered his season-ending concussion last year. He played in all three games, but DHed on Sunday. That's great progress. Unfortunately, he didn't his first hit until Sunday -- a broken-bat infield single. That's kind of amusing.


High Fives:

I've never really done this kind of thing before, but I may as well give some credit where credit is due. As long as the Twins aren't swept in a series, I'll try to figure out three players (or more, if I'm so inclined) who deserve a high-five.

1. Nick Blackburn. He was outstanding on Sunday. He pitched in and out with movement, and when the Jays made contact, it was weak. Well, except for Jose Bautista, but Nick's not going to be the last guy to give up a homerun to that guy.

2. Denard Span. He had a game-saving catch and a moonshot on Sunday. Plus, he's currently leading the team in batting.

3. Joe Nathan. Well, he earned a save. And by that, I mean, he really earned a save. Oh, if you watched the game on TV, did you notice how sweaty he was during the post-game interview? I guess he was a bit anxious.

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