5 Things Learned from the Minnesota Twins Series Win Over the Detroit Tigers

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5 Things Learned from the Minnesota Twins Series Win Over the Detroit Tigers

5 Things Learned from the Minnesota Twins Series Win Over the Detroit Tigers
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It may have been unexpected, but the Minnesota Twins started off the 2013 campaign on the right foot by defeating the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers in the opening series two games to one. The key to the Twins victory was obviously their pitching, after the rotation was put into much question heading into the season due to injury concerns and perceived lack of talent. One series certainly doesn’t indicate what will happen over a 162 game grind of a season, but it certainly starts the season off right. The Twins are going to rely on their lineup to do the heavy lifting this season and keep them in the majority of their games. Their lineup got off to a slow start in the first two games of the series, but really turned it on during the last game of the series en route to an 8-2 victory. That momentum carried over into the first game of the series against the Baltimore Orioles that saw the Twins come up short in a 9-5 defeat. All in all, I believe it is safe to say that the lineup will be a strength as the season wears on for the Twins. As we look back on the first series of the 2013 season, five things become apparent about what we have learned about the 2013 version of the Twins. Those five things have set the stage for the remainder of the season as the Twins look to carry this momentum on as long as possible.

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5. Aaron Hicks Is Going to Have Rookie Struggles

5. Aaron Hicks Is Going to Have Rookie Struggles
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

After an impressive spring training that saw Hicks hit .370 in 22 games, Hicks hit a wall during his first series at the big leagues going 1-12, with his only hit coming in the series finale. Don’t give up on Hicks as a potential threat in the Twins’ lineup for the rest of 2013, but Hicks is going to experience his fair share of struggles during his first season. This is largely due to Hicks never having a regular season at-bat at a level above Double-A. Patience will be the virtue with Hicks.

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4. Joe Mauer Fits as a Number Two Hitter

4. Joe Mauer Fits as a Number Two Hitter
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Mauer may have not had his best overall hitting series by only going 4-13, but Mauer has demonstrated how much better he makes the lineup when he bats in the number two spot instead of the number three. This allows for Hicks to see more quality pitches because they do not want to put Hicks on with Mauer behind him. This also makes the top of the Twins order more potent with Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau protecting and driving in runs after Mauer successfully gets on base.

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3. The Bullpen is Strong at the Back-end

3. The Bullpen is Strong at the Back-end
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We knew going into the 2013 season that the Twins had a dominant closer in Glen Perkins and a solid setup man in Jared Burton. In the opening series, Perkins did not pitch in a save opportunity. He did, however, pick up his first win of the season after pitching a scoreless ninth inning in the Twins game two victory. In two appearances against the Tigers, Burton pitched two scoreless and hitless innings against the potent Tigers lineup. If both of these pitchers can continue their dominance, the Twins may be able to feel safe with a lead heading into the eighth and ninth innings.

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2. Josh Willingham Hasn’t Lost His Power

2. Josh Willingham Hasn’t Lost His Power
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It may have only been one homerun, but Wilingham displayed that he still has the power that Twins’ fans and executives benefited from in 2013. After collecting only two hits in his first 10 at-bats against the Tigers, Willingham responded with two more hits against the Orioles in the season opener. I fully expect Willingham’s bat to heat up as the season wears on.

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1. The Pitching Staff Isn’t That Bad

1. The Pitching Isn’t That Bad
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After sending out Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey to the mound against the Tigers, few could have expected the performances that these pitchers would deliver following a disappointing spring training. Correia in particular was impressive after holding the Tigers to two runs over seven innings. Worley and Pelfrey also held the Tigers in check and gave the Twins a chance to win in the later innings. If the Twins’ pitchers can continue to keep the game close until they turn it over to the bullpen in the later innings, the team will have an excellent chance to succeed in 2013.

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