April 3, 2017: Opening Day

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

68 thoughts on “April 3, 2017: Opening Day”

1. Jeff A says:

Yankees/Rays: Three hours, twenty-one minutes.
Giants/Diamondbacks: Three hours, twenty-three minutes.
Cubs/Cardinals: Three hours, thirty-three minutes.

Small sample size, obviously, but after the first day of the season, it's hard to see that the pace of play has improved.

1. CarterHayes says:

Shoutout to Beau for linking to this excellent Grant Brisbee piece comparing game length/pace of game between two similar games played in 1984 & 2014, respectively.

1. Razor says:

It is an excellent piece and it helped debunk my thought that TV should get most of the blame.

2. I wouldn't use the first day of the season as a yardstick, as it's not exactly a well-oiled machine right out of the chute. Also, Yankees

1. sean says:

Also, Yankees

And they were the shortest game.

3. Also, 2 of the games were walk-offs, meaning games were close late and included the bottom of the 9th.

2. Beau says:

Remember that simple math problem from school where a guy is getting dressed in the dark and he has to figure out the minimum number of socks he has to take from his sock drawer to ensure he has two of the same color? I always thought that was silly because who dresses in the dark and who doesn't match their socks. Well, I've actually had to live that problem recently because I get up before my wife and son and my wife does laundry and doesn't match socks (and why would she, since she never has to dress in the dark). I actually thought to myself the other day, "I want a paid of black socks, but I can't tell the difference between black and blue with this lighting, so I guess I'm grabbing three socks and see what I have downstairs."

The other solution to this math problem is to set the clothes aside you're going to wear the night before. Another solution is to do your own laundry.

1. cheaptoy says:

The modern day solution that I've used when I had to find clothes in the dark: cell phone flashlight.

1. Beau says:

I've tried that, and mine still can't tell the difference between navy blue and black

2. You don't have to do your own laundry to match your own socks. Once they go into the sock drawer, you're allowed to take them out and pair them. Or do like Einstein -- only one color.

1. Philosofer says:

Or... buy just one of each color, and then you don't have to worry about it. Matching is for chumps.

2. Jeff A says:

Several years ago I went to all black socks. Saves much time in matching.

3. My dirty little secret is that I love doing laundry.

1. Beau says:

4. sean says:

I get up before my wife

Ditto.

my wife does laundry and doesn't match socks

Almost ditto. I do the laundry but I still don't match socks. I do have only two types: white socks and black socks. I sort them only based on that. I still can't always easily tell them apart when waking up in winter, but I have them physically separated so I grab two socks from one side and go.

3. cheaptoy says:

I didn't realize opening day was a 3:00 game today. Fortunately, Fox Sports is not blocked at work so I can stream the first hour without killing my data. Woo!

1. I brought my 20 year walkman tape player (and radio!) to work so that I can listen in.

1. CarterHayes says:

When I was a kid I had a transistor radio with a leatherette case that I looped over my handlebars so I could listen to Twins games on the go. I loved that thing.

1. I would fall asleep at night as a kid to the dulcet sounds of Herb Carneal in the earpiece of my crystal radio kit.

1. brianS says:

Dido. The good ol' days when WCCO really cranked up the wattage after dark.

1. CarterHayes says:

Apparently Howard Viken claimed he picked up WCCO's signal during WWII.

1. Philosofer says:

A relative living in some part of the south (I don't recall where at the time... one of KY, AL, or GA) claimed the same. Not Guadalcanal, but clearly the 830 had some power.

1. CarterHayes says:

My mentor, a young Pirates fan at the time, could occasionally get KDKA in Colorado Springs. I certainly believe WCCO could reach the southern US east of the Rockies. Skywave!

2. cheaptoy says:

Ha! I also have a Walkman, but mine only plays mp3's. (although my phone has replaced it. 21st century! Wooo!)

1. I found it a year or two ago in a box of stuff that we hadn't unpacked yet. It's a rock solid radio, and it's unbelievably good on battery usage, so I use it to listen to games while I mow.

2. Beau says:

For the first time we have DVR so the game is being recorded. I'll excuse myself from the WGOM in about 4 hours.

3. As a reminder, you can go here to watch games online. There are free daily games (FLA-WSH is today's) and anyone can watch a condensed version of every game when it posts several hours after the game has ended. You can also go here to see highlights from the game at any time (I believe).

4. davidwatts says:

Im going to miss the first few inning because of work. ><

1. Philosofer says:

I'm going to miss the next few because of work...

4. Philosofer says:

Apparently Prince is now on Pandora. This is awesome.

1. CarterHayes says:

Apparently Pandora still exists?

1. Philosofer says:

Works well enough for me.

2. Pandora is a good friend while working out at the Y

2. His stuff went up everywhere a month or so ago. I use Tidal so I already had it, but The Milkmaid typically does Pandora so she's happy.

1. I use Google Music, and he's there, too.

He is by far Newbish's favorite musician, so this has been a very good thing.

5. Jeff A says:

I just wanted to point out that Madison Bumgarner is on a pace to hit 324 home runs this season. That would be a record.

1. Beau says:

The Giants are also on pace to blow 324 saves.

1. Jeff A says:

That would be a record, too.

1. CarterHayes says:

I could swear Ron Davis blew more in '84.

2. davidwatts says:

Unless MadBum plays everyday, its more like 70. Give him 35 starts, 2 bombs each start.

1. CarterHayes says:

Don't forget interleague DH opportunities.

6. Philosofer says:

I traveled to Baltimore last week to help my sister move back to Minnesota. After being out of the office for 3 work days + the weekend, I did not appreciate how hard it would be to get back in a rhythm when I'm my own boss... I purposely scheduled a very busy week, but that doesn't really start until this afternoon.

Also, it was my first time anywhere near D.C. since I left there 7+ years ago. I didn't realize how much I missed it. I was able to get away for an evening to see some old friends from law school. That was awesome. Someday, after the kids are grown, Philosofette and I might need to move back.

7. Pepper says:

To those of you who are eagerly awaiting today's important and exciting event, I regret to inform you that First Monday Book Day will be posted on the Second Monday this month.

1. sean says:

Aww. I saw a report by Pew research about how much Americans (don't) read and was ready to make a DG joke about it. I hope I can remember.

2. brianS says:

In the best tradition of the WGOM and that feature in particular.

1. MagUidhir says:

And don't even get me started on that Andrew bozo and his soccer column.

Mauer and Dozier should be flipped in batting order.

1. Beau says:

Agreed. Though I do wonder if perhaps Dozier gets more opportunities to hit bombs because he's first in the order? Eh. It's probably a wash in the long-run. At least our best hitter gets the most plate appearances.

1. Jeff A says:

As I look at the lineup, I think you could draw names out of a hat and not make it significantly better or worse.

2. ubelmann says:

I don't love the idea of hitting three right-handed hitters in a row. These days with teams loading up the bullpen with a thousand pitchers, the only way to punish them for such crap roster construction is to force them to burn through their bullpen trying to optimize platoon splits late in the game. It could work if you were willing to pinch-hit for the middle hitter in later innings, but I don't think the Twins would want to take Dozier out. And with Mauer at the top, you'd have Kepler/Rosario/Mauer all lefties hitting in a row. You're more likely to pinch hit for someone at the bottom of the order, so that's probably not as big an issue.

I can kind of see Mauer hitting in front of Sano as a sort of second lead-off hitter to try to maximize Sano's PAs with a runner on base (and the pitcher pitching from the stretch.) Not sure if that is the justification, though. The thinking is probably more that Mauer would clog the bases.

1. CarterHayes says:

This feeds into my beef about the roster construction. Vargas, a switch hitter, was the last position player cut. Presumably Vargas would have been in the mix for DH, so he wouldn't have always been on the bench, but he would've been a wild card in the lineup when it came to messing with platoon matchups.

But no, the Twins absolutely need thirteen pitchers. I mentioned this in the Game Five post a few weeks ago, but I'm still kind of amazed by Dick Howser's bench options: he used two pinch runners and four pinch hitters in the same game, including one pinch hitter that never got a plate appearance because he was pulled after he was announced due to a pitching change to gain platoon advantage.

1. Philosofer says:

Here's what I don't get... Assuming defense-neutral substitutions, isn't the platoon advantage gained by a pinch batter essentially exactly the same (only opposite) that of a relief pitcher? So why does the preference for relief pitchers exist at all, much less league-wide?

1. Beau says:

More arms that can throw 98 MPH for short bursts I'm guessing

2. ubelmann says:

I think it's an emotional thing as much as anything. I do think it is in the pitcher's favor for the hitter to only see him once in the game, so there's some advantage there, but emotionally, it is going to feel better to make bullpen moves. 65-70% of the time you put in a pinch hitter, he's going to make an out and you just burned one of your bench moves. But relief pitchers come in and even if they allow a runner, they get another shot, and usually they don't immediately allow a run.

2. Vargas wasn't going to be on the team because he just didn't have enough at-bats between the WBC and his leg/foot injury. If the Twins decided they wanted Park in the minors regardless of what he did this spring, then they may have decided to go with 13 pitchers to start until they feel Vargas is ready. Today's lineup shows this is really going to hurt them vs. lefties. Vargas or Park at DH with Grossman in left or right in place of Rosario or Kepler would be preferable. Or even Vargas or Park at first in place of Mauer.

3. What's amazing to me is that Buxton would go from bust to batting 3rd on Opening Day. It might be a little soon for that responsibility and I don't know if Molitor is doing it because he thinks Buxton is the Twins' best all-around hitter now, but I also thought there was too much overreaction to his struggles by the general public.

1. ubelmann says:

Buxton had a ton of power last year, especially for a 22-year-old. The strikeouts could ultimately be his undoing, but he could improve that enough for him to be an asset at the plate. When he made contact, his BABIP was reasonable.

Age-wise, Buxton's 2017 is equivalent to Hunter's 1999 or Carlos Gomez's 2009. Both of them were hacking down in the 20-23% range for strikeouts. Buxton's 35% last year was extreme. It's not super sensitive to sample-size issues, but he's young so it's possible he could improve. Gomez never hit for that much power, and Hunter didn't have a .200+ ISO until his age-25 season.

I'm not sure how much pressure it is being the #3 hitter on a really bad team. Buxton has probably hit there a lot in his life overall. Now if he got dropped in there in the middle of the season for a contending team, I think the pressure becomes a bigger question.

1. I like that they aren't having him bat leadoff just because he's the fastest player. I wouldn't want him to change his game to fit the old perceptions of a what a leadoff batter is supposed to be (cut down on the swing to make contact, take a lot of pitches, bunt a lot). If the power he showed in October is for real, he can be a star. Of course, if he is the Twins' best hitter, it might be better to bat him leadoff just to get him the most PAs. I just don't want him to be forced into that mold.

1. Jeff A says:

I probably wouldn't have batted him third because of the pressure thing. Having decided to put him there, though, the Twins need to leave him there even if he gets off to a slow start. Let's not start making decisions based on a handful of games like we did too often last year.

9. A calf strain suffered by Javy Guerra means that Tommy Milone is now pitching for the Brewers in a game they trail 2-0 in the fourth. Make it 3-0 now.

10. As of this moment, my batters are 1-for-23 on the season. My lone hit was from Dexter Fowler last night.

1. SSS fun. My batters have finally heated up. I just got a 2-run HR from Jose Ramirez and my team jumped 10.5 points in the standings.

1. meat says:

If the guy with the dodgers hat gets on the train with you do you count him twice?

11. George Springer hit a leadoff HR off of King Felix. That's a good way for the Astros to start their home opener (after a scoreless top of the first).

12. davidwatts says:

If Carlos Gomez is healthy all year, I bet he hits 30 HRs for the Rangers.