If you look at all four of Kevin Correia’s starts during the 2013 season, you would see the model of consistency. You may also believe there is a typo in the stats log or that someone incorrectly hit the paste button one too many times. If you were to subscribe to that theory, you would be mistaken. Correia, for the fourth straight start, pitched seven strong innings surrendering seven hits, two runs and one walk while striking out two batters in the Minnesota Twins’ 4-3 win over the struggling Miami Marlins.
If this were the beginning of the season, I’d say to not read much into the strong performance by Correia based off the fact that the Marlins possess one of the weakest lineups my eyes has ever had the displeasure of viewing. However, it is getting difficult to ignore the impressiveness of Correia’s start to the season. Four starts and four quality starts is nothing to balk at. Factor in that Correia went seven innings in each of his starts and allowed fewer than three runs and it is hard to critique the pitcher that many people believed was bound to struggle in 2013. He may indeed struggle as 2013 trudges on; but as of now, let’s ride this hot streak for as long as it will take us.
Correia’s pitching, coupled with Oswaldo Arcia’s first career homerun, proved to be enough as the Twins extended their winning streak to five, heading into the nightcap of the day-night doubleheader. Correia’s ability to go seven innings in the first game of a doubleheader is crucial for saving the bullpen for the nightcap. It now allows manager Ron Gardenhire to use the majority of his bullpen, if needed, to secure a win in game two. Factor in that Correia has gone seven innings in each of his starts and it does have a positive effect on the Twins’ bullpen in the long-run because it saves the amount of appearances they have to make, even if it’s only for one start out of five.
There is no doubting that Correia’s start to 2013 is impressive and it correlates with the surprising start of the Twins’ as well. Will both of these streaks last? They might, but the odds are still stacked against their favor. The Twins still haven’t had to face a lot of tough competition in the schedule and they have been the beneficiary of playing teams who are currently struggling to find their form this season. Make no mistake about it, their schedule is going to get more difficult; but this strong start does give the Twins the necessary confidence and momentum to hang in this race longer than what was previously expected.
If the Twins are to remain competitive, players like Correia will be the reason. This season has already been valuable for the team long-term, as a lot of young players are gaining valuable experience during the season’s early weeks. With Scott Diamond and Correia pitching well and Vance Worley showing signs of life, the Twins have a formidable trio to keep them in a lot of ballgames the rest of the season. It will be the development of the final two spots, however, that will determine how long they can remain in contention.