Granted, the Angels have had a tough go of it to start the season, with their top three starters on the DL, and the tragic death of another, Nick Adenhart, but a sweep by the Twins still is very encouraging. In this one, Glen Perkins, for the third consecutive start, went eight innings and gave up two runs or fewer (one). He threw only 84 pitches and allowed just five baserunners. The pitcher we worried about most before the season started, Perkins has been far and away the best to this point. And he improved his groundball ratio, inducing 11 versus 9 flyballs, as I thought he might need to.
And this time the offense showed up enough, albeit not by much, to get him his first victory of 2009. Carlos Gomez had three hits and is hitting an even .200, but now Alexi Casilla has plummeted beneath the Mendoza Line after going 0-4. With Casilla and Joe Crede's struggles, the infield is now being shuffled just as often as the outfield, with Casilla, Crede, Nick Punto, Brian Buscher, and Brendan Harris all getting some starts. And Delmon Young even had another walk!
As Jose Morales picked up his first career RBI in the game, news broke that there is now a timetable for Joe Mauer's return. He'll likely start playing in games this week and continue next week to prove that he's healthy; if he does, he's slated to return on May 1st. Obviously, his return would be advantageous for the Twins, but its biggest effect may, surprisingly, be on defense. Mike Redmond and Morales have combined to go 2-18 in throwing out runners, allow two passed balls, and make one error. At the start of the day, the 15 stolen bases allowed (now 16) was tied for the lead in the Majors.
Tomorrow, the Twins will have their first off-day of the season before heading to Boston, so I'll finally be able to watch them on TV!