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The Minnesota Twins are the first club to visit the Dome in 2011.  According to the Jays press notes, this is the fourth time these clubs have met on Opening Day.  The Jays hold a 2-1 edge and the home team has won each time.  The Jays also opened their home schedule in 2002 against Minnesota and emerged victorious.   Toronto has won 28 out of 40 against Minnesota since 2006.

Jose Molina finishes crossing the plate after hitting his first home run as a Blue Jay against the Twins July 8.

Joe Mauer hit .327 with 9 homers and 75 RBI in 2010.

Twin Tales

  • New Westminster, B.C.'s Justin Morneau, one of 16 Canadians to make an Opening Day roster, returns to the Twins lineup this weekend.  The last time he was at the Dome, his head met John McDonald's knee and the big first baseman wound up with a season-ending concussion.  He hit .152 with just three doubles during the spring.
  • Matt Capps and Joe Nathan will share the closer's role until Nathan is fully recovered from his Tommy John surgery on his right elbow that caused him to miss all of 2010.  Nathan's ERA was 9.72 this spring while Capps did not allow an earned run.
  • Designated hitter Jim Thome is closing in on the 600 home run plateau.  The 20-year veteran needs 11 more bombs to join Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds*, Alex Rodriguez* and Sammy Sosa* in the 600 homer club.
  • Guelph, Ontario's Scott Diamond is staying with the Twins organization.  The right-hander was selected in the Rule 5 draft from Atlanta and the Twins cut a deal to keep him around.  Diamond will begin the year at Triple-A Rochester.
  • Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka is the Twins new second baseman after signing a three year deal worth $9 million dollars.  The switch-hitter had a 13 game hitting streak this spring and you'll never guess who snapped it.  Alexei Casilla will join Nishioka in the middle infield.  They replace former Jay Orlando Hudson and J.J. Hardy, not a former Jay despite his name.

Projected Starters

  • Carl Pavano gets his second career Opening Day assignment against Ricky Romero (2-0, 2.78 ERA vs. Twins) tonight and he hopes this one goes better than his 2007 performance.  The one-time Expo signed a two year, $16 million dollar deal to stay in Minnesota.  As a Twin, his career ERA is 3.97.  According to, Pavano's stuff includes a fastball around 90 MPH, a slider around 83 MPH and a changeup around 81MPH.
  • Lefty Francisco Liriano, who faces Kyle Drabek Saturday, had a 4.82 ERA this spring but finished up with a quality start by allowing three runs on four hits and striking out four over six innings against Pittsburgh.  Liriano's repertoire includes a 93 MPH fastball as well as sliders and changeups averaging 86 on the gun.  Edwin Encarnacion is 2-for-2 lifetime against Liriano, Rajai Davis is 5-for-14 (.357) and Jose Bautista is 3-for-8.
  • Sunday's starter is Nick Blackburn and he will take on lefty Brett Cecil (2-0, 2.08 vs. Twins).  Blackburn, who believes the Twins have a playoff-calibre rotation, is a four pitch pitcher with a fastball around 90, a cutter around 88, a curve around 79 and a change around 83.  Against Blackburn, Juan Rivera is 5-for-13 (.385) and Davis is 4-for-11 (.364).

Michael Cuddyer batted .271 with 14 homers and 81 RBI last season.

Twins 25 Man Roster

  • Catchers Joe Mauer and Drew Butera (son of former Jay Sal)
  • Infielders Justin Morneau, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Danny Valencia, Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert
  • Outfielders Delmon Young, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Repko
  • Designated Hitters Jason Kubel and Jim Thome
  • Starters Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker and Brian Duensing
  • Relievers Jeff Manship, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Dusty Hughes, Jose Mijares, Matt Capps and Joe Nathan.
Jays vs Twins - April 1-3 | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
scottt - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#231999) #
Without looking I'll guess that this was actually worse than Pavano's 2007 opener.

Gerry - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 10:03 PM EDT (#232000) #
So does anyone think spring training stats mean anything now?
scottt - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#232002) #
Yes and no. It's a bit like April. You see a lot of trends change as the season gets longer.

JPA might be able to do some damage against contact pitchers if nothing else. It will be interesting to see how he compares to Molina defensively after one month. AL Rookie of the year?

Romero was fine, but was out of gas after 6 innings. Well, it's alright. He might have sat too long between innings.

I'm still not sold on Encarnation.

TimberLee - Saturday, April 02 2011 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#232008) #
Our Strat-O-Matic league draft is this evening.  Arencibia is available and probably wasn't on anyone's target list, so I'll be interested to see where he goes after his great Opening Day.  A lot of catchers take two weeks to amass eleven total bases.
bpoz - Saturday, April 02 2011 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#232009) #
Great openers for both JPA & J Buck (grand slam).

If healthy, I wonder how many ABs JPA gets this year.
CeeBee - Saturday, April 02 2011 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#232011) #
A great first game or even a hot first month doesn't guarantee anything but I think its better for the psyche than trying to dig oneself out of a hole, especially for a young player. It probably also is good for a team as well as the fans, whether the hope generated is realistic or not.
Glevin - Saturday, April 02 2011 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#232015) #
"If healthy, I wonder how many ABs JPA gets this year"

I really hope he plays 125 games at catcher this year. Absolutely no reason to give Jose Molina  40% of the starts as is the plan right now. J.P. will have his ups and downs and will struggle at some point, but he is the catcher of the future for the Jays and has nothing left to prove in AAA.
scottt - Saturday, April 02 2011 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#232021) #
Plenty of reasons to give Molina 40% of the starts (so far anyway) as he belts a solo shot and Drabek gives 1 hit in 7 innings with 3BB/7K.

The bigger question is how many start does Nix sees at 3B.

dan gordon - Saturday, April 02 2011 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#232022) #

Great game by Drabek today.  He keeps pitching like that and he's not going anywhere when Morrow comes back.  Nice first game as a Blue Jay for Nix - couple of walks, a HR and some good work in the field.  Nice pickup at no cost.

What a breath of fresh air having a manager who actually pinch hits when it makes sense to do so.  The Twins bring in a righty and Farrell sends Snider up to hit for Rivera and he comes through with a 2 run double. 

Mike Green - Saturday, April 02 2011 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#232023) #
#2JB, that first shot of Molina's homer against the Twins last year might be a useful tradition to start. Baseball does have its superstitions, and when something works, why change it?

If you were to plan Games 1 and 2 of the season on a drawing board, you probably couldn't do better than what has actually happened. Good starting pitching, solid relief. Some long sequence offence, some home runs, patience at the plate (like Lind's at-bat against Liriano today which ended in a fly out). The bench being used appropriately.
scottt - Saturday, April 02 2011 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#232039) #
I'm surprised at the lineup construction in Boston. Crawford has been hitting third behind Ellsbury and Pedroia.

Flex - Saturday, April 02 2011 @ 11:41 PM EDT (#232041) #
I agree with Farrell's move with Snider. I just hope we're all still congratulating him when it (and the double steals in the first inning, etc) fails to work the way it did today.
scottt - Sunday, April 03 2011 @ 08:58 AM EDT (#232051) #
Even it if doesn't always work, bringing snider in is the right thing to do.

I don't like seeing Snider on the bench, but if it's only for half a game it doesn't really matter.

Still waiting to see the pen. The Yankees have given Mariano 2 saves already, the last one being on a single three pitch out in a 10-6 win.

Flex - Sunday, April 03 2011 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#232054) #
Another new lineup from Farrell today, this time with Rivera hitting second and Hill hitting fifth. It is so refreshing to see a manager who is willing to try things and play the cards he has creatively instead of allowing himself to be locked into stasis for fear of hurting players' feelings or crushing their spirit. Of course, if Rivera plays today as if his psyche has been damaged from being pitch-hit for yesterday a certain droop to the shoulders, perhaps, or a shuffle to his step then Gaston will have been proved correct all along. And yet, I am not afraid...
bpoz - Sunday, April 03 2011 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#232058) #
Great start for the Jays. Lots of radio talk about the Jays on Mar 31st & Apr 1st which I am catching up with. 2nd year for AA, 1st for Farrell.

Very creative managing by Farrell in the 1st 2 games, but what are Farrell's possible strategy limitations. I like what he is doing but am I correct in saying that the following are possible limitations IF they are true.

1) EE has been promised a lot of ABs, maybe 500?
2) J Molina catching Morrow/Drabek, does Farrell pinch run for Molina early (4th?), going for a big inning? Is JPA fast enough or does he choose McCoy & then JPA? I am sure this situation could happen.
3) As a 2012 FA, J Rivera's position & ABs quantity will affect his future career opportunities. What if any favors(?) is he owed?

I sure am pumped and have faith in Farrell & AA!!!
ayjackson - Sunday, April 03 2011 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#232059) #

 It is so refreshing to see a manager who is willing to try things and play the cards he has creatively instead of allowing himself to be locked into stasis for fear of hurting players' feelings or crushing their spirit.

I was thinking of causing a little trouble last night and post a tongue-in-cheek comment saying it`s a wonder that Rivera didn`t walk out on the team after being pinch-hit-for by a 23 year-old yesterday.  While that move was refreshing, it is interesting to see Rivera in the 2-hole today.  I wonder if it`s Farrell saying to Rivera (and the team) there`s two sides to the coin.

BlueJayWay - Sunday, April 03 2011 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#232060) #
Another new lineup from Farrell today, this time with Rivera hitting second..

What!??  I thought Rivera would be devestated, home crying because he was pinch hit for yesterday.  After all, that was the great Cito's rationale for not pinch hitting a younger guy for a veteran, no? 

China fan - Sunday, April 03 2011 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#232065) #

Well, if we're debating Gaston already, where are all the fans who claimed that Gaston was "destroying Snider's confidence" by "jerking him around" and benching him too often?   Where are all the fans who were furious that Snider didn't play every game in 2010 and claimed that it was some bizarre prejudice in favor of veterans by the elderly manager?  Here it is, the second game of the season, and Snider is already on the bench at the start of the game -- so, to be consistent, the Gaston critics should be accusing Farrell of destroying the confidence of the poor young guy and ruining his career.  Snicker, indeed.

Personally, I hope we don't spend the entire season comparing Gaston and Farrell, because there will always be ammunition on both sides of the debate.  The reality is that we can't know and don't know.  The situations are different, the personnel is different.   I'd vote for dropping the debate.  But if people are going to persist with the argument that every success by Farrell is somehow a triumph over Cito Gaston, the arguments will last forever.

Jays vs Twins - April 1-3 | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.