Ahhh. An above-average offensive game, a couple of wins, two good pitching performances, things are looking up. On top of that, the Twins aren't in the cellar anymore courtesy of a White Sox slump which has seen them lose 10 out of 11 games. Morneau's looking good in his return from the flu, Gardy says Delmon Young should be back in the lineup tomorrow, the Indians and Royals are returning to earth a little bit...slowly but surely things are turning around.
I didn't get to watch either of the games this weekend, I'm currently in the process of moving so that's taking up a majority of my time, but I did read/see a couple of things that made me smile. One was the 4 hits and 4 RBI from Morneau over the weekend. That's great to see and I don't think it will be long here before we start to see the thunder return to his bat. Jason Bay of the New York Mets, who also suffered a concussion and was out for awhile, hit his first HR of the season which gives me hope for Morneau. The second thing I read about that made me smile was regarding Nathan's appearance in Saturday's 10-3 win. He came in with a 7-run lead, pitched well, and I read that the fans were standing and cheering during the final three outs. I don't know the guy personally, but Joe Nathan seems like a good person and a hard-working player and I was happy to see the fans give him some love. That had to feel good.
I had MLB Network on a lot this weekend and I watched the Cubs game on Saturday so I got to watch former-Twin Matt Guerrier cough up a Dodger lead on Saturday, giving up 5 earned run in 1.2 innings of work. That got me thinking, "I wonder how other recently departed Twins are faring for their new teams?" So, here's a quick run-down:
Orlando Hudson - 2B - San Diego Padres
After a decent start to the season, Hudson has cooled off considerably and currently finds himself mired in a 4-for-33 slump. His triple-slash currently sits at .229/.349/.271 through 70 at-bats. O-Dog does have 7 steals so far this year, which is only 3 less than his best season total. In the field he's been money as he does not yet have an error at 2nd and has been a part of 15 double-plays.
J.J. Hardy - SS - Baltimore Orioles
Hardy only made it 6 games into the season before he found himself on the DL with a left oblique strain. He's supposed to take some swings today, but it's probably another week or two before he'll be back with the Major League squad.
Jesse Crain - RP - Chicago White Sox
With all sorts of problems at the back end of the bullpen for the Sox (6 blown saves in 7 chances), I wouldn't be surprised if Guillen gave Crain a shot at the closer role for the Sox. Crain has been quite effective so far this year with 11 Ks against only 2BB in 10.1 innings of work. Crain and Sergio Santos have easily been the White Sox more effective relief arms, but haven't had many higher-leverage opportunities lately as the Sox have lost 10 of 11 games.
Matt Guerrier - RP - Los Angeles Dodgers
In Guerrier's defense, he had not surrendered a run until Saturday's debacle which saw him give up 5 runs against the Cubs in 1.2 innings of work. Guerrier has still yet to give up an extra-base hit and prior to Saturday's blow-up, he had retired 33 of 39 batters-faced.
Jon Rauch - RP/Closer - Toronto Blue Jays
Rauch has been the de-facto closer so far this season, but that may be changing soon as Frank Francisco has come off the DL. Rauch has done a serviceable job in the role to this point, saving 3 games for the Jays and only surrendering 2 runs in 8.2 IP. Rauch will likely resume more of a set-up role going forward as Francisco is expected to regain the role of closer shortly.
Brian Fuentes - Closer - Oakland Athletics
With Andrew Bailey side-lined due to injury (right forearm strain), Fuentes has been filling as the Athletics' closer since the beginning of the season. Aside from two ugly outings against the Mariners and Tigers, Fuentes has pitched pretty well saving 6 games for the A's with 10Ks in 11 IP. The timetable for Bailey's return is early-May at which point Fuentes could find himself back in a set-up role, or even a LOOGY role.
Pat Neshek - RP - San Diego Padres
Neshek's velocity is still pretty awful, but he's managed to pitch well despite that fact, holding a 2.25 ERA over 8 IP so far. Neshek's control isn't there either (7:5 K/BB) which leads me to believe the National League simply hasn't adapted to his unorthodox delivery yet. Unless his velocity and command improve, he will start getting shelled once hitters get more comfortable with his release point. Pat's fan-friendly attitude hasn't changed though and I'm sure that if he sticks around with the Padres he'll become as popular there as he wa with the Twins.
That about does it for players worth mentioning. I wouldn't say that any of the ex-Twins are doing amazingly well, but it's early. As for the Twins, things are looking up, if they can get Liriano going a little better and get Mauer back sometime soon, we could be looking at a big turnaround. Fingers-crossed, Go Twins.