Minnesota Twins-Seattle Mariners: Twins Lose Opening Game, Maybe More
Felix Hernandez and Francisco Liriano were both solid if unspectacular, but Hernandez simply made the pitches he needed to make where Liriano didn't, and that was the difference in the game.
Still, Liriano gave up just four hits, walked none, and got two-thirds of his outs via the groundball, which will be a key stat to watch as the season progresses. Liriano won't be the 10+ strikeout pitcher he was in 2006, but if he can induce grounders and use his slider effectively, he will still be a pitcher opponents hope to miss.
The Twins had their opportunities, most notably in the fifth inning when they loaded the bases with no outs. Mike Redmond did cross the plate on Michael Cuddyer's single, but a double play ended the inning and the Twins best chance to put up more runs.
As disappointing as losing the opener is, the status of Mike Redmond is far more important.
The Twins are already thin at catcher, and were certainly not planning to use more than the two catchers they already had. Redmond is one of the toughest players the Twins have ever had, taking substantial abuse behind the plate, but always getting back up for the next pitch.
If this groin injury proves to be worthy of a trip to the Disabled List, the Twins will call up AAA catcher Drew Butera to split time with Jose Morales.
Many thought Butera would win the back-up job out of camp, but the Twins elected to go with the more offensively minded Morales. Now, it appears they may get the best of both worlds.
Expect to see Morales behind the plate tonight, whether Redmond goes on the DL or not, the Twins will hope that rest helps keep Redmond on the field.
No matter what, this will not affect Joe Mauer's rehab schedule. The Twins are taking a long-term view for his injury, and this development won't change that timetable.
Hopefully, Redmond will wake-up feeling better and this won't be an issue going forward. If Redmond does end up on the bench for an extended amount of time, this may well go down as the worst double the Twins have ever hit.
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