I hope Kevin Correia avoided my blog this off-season, as I was diligent in ripping him apart and degrading his qualifications as a big league starting pitcher. While this will not serve as an open letter of apology to the Minnesota Twins’ starting pitcher, it will instead function as a tip of the cap to a strong start to the season for the 10 million dollar man in Twins’ Territory. Well done sir, well done.
The combination of Joe Mauer’s hot bat—which produced four hits, one HR and three RBI—and Correia’s strong pitching ended the Twins’ five game losing streak with a 8-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Target Field Monday evening.
While I figure that my approval means everything to Correia (sarcasm), it should serve as further proof that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Correia certainly hasn’t cemented himself as a bonafide top-of-the-rotation starter, but he has demonstrated a bulldog mentality that will eat up difficult innings out of the Twins’ rotation this season. When Correia signed his two-year 10 million dollar contract this off-season, many fans and analysts—including myself—proclaimed this a large waste of money and a grand overpayment. However if Correia continues to pitch the way he has over his first three starts with the Twins, his contract will easily live up to the market value and may even be considered a “steal” in certain organizational circles.
Before we get ahead of ourselves and start making ridiculous claims, let’s stay in the moment and give Correia credit for his performance on Monday night. During Monday’s game, Correia held the potent Angels’ lineup to eight hits and two runs while striking out five over seven innings of work. If there was a criticism of his performance, it would be that he did give up two homeruns in the game which stood as the only runs he would surrender.
In his three starts for the Twins this year, Correia is a perfect three for three in quality starts. If you look at the teams he has faced during his starts, his outings begin to look even more impressive. Correia, in his three starts this season, has faced the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals and Angels and has produced three quality starts and has gone at least seven innings in each of his starts. All of the teams that Correia has faced have possessed strong and potent lineups that may rank among the leagues’ best in 2013. While it may be early in the season, Correia certainly has pitched well during his three starts and is earning himself respect with each appearance. It is a marathon of a season and it will be important to see how Correia adjusts to facing an opponent more than one time.
Baseball can be a simple game when you get good pitching and timely hitting like the Twins received on Monday night. What the game demonstrated was that the formula for winning is attainable for the Twins’ roster if they get reasonable starting pitching and timely hitting. While it may be easier said than done, the Twins certainly have the ability to produce runs with the lineup they have; however, it will be up to the rotation to determine if the team will compete and avoid losing streaks like the one the team just ended.