Sunday, April 8, 2012

By Brian Waller, Columnist  

After dropping the opening series to the Kansas City Royals 2-to-1, the Angels now will travel to Minnesota where they will face the Twins for a 3 game series spanning 4 days. With all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the season opener it was only fitting the Halos won the game, it was a tad disappointing to see the team drop 2 out of 3 games to start the season.

There are silver linings in that dark cloud though people, the bullpen, the obvious weak link was very strong for the Angels this weekend. It was the starting rotation that put the team in an early hole as Dan Haren and Ervin Santana were not their usual selves, giving up an uncharacteristically high number of runs and hits. The ace of spring training, C.J. Wilson will start it off for the Halos in Minnesota on Monday as the Angels look to rebound from two consecutive losses.

The offense showed glimpses of the promise it showed during spring training but it wasn't consistent enough to propel the Halos over the Royals this past weekend. The Angels must work on their patience at the plate and their base running as they move forward in April. Minnesota was swept this past weekend by the Baltimore Orioles so the Angels should be able to capitalize on the rough start by the Twins.

Player(s) to Watch:
C.J. Wilson makes his Angels' debut on Monday against Nick Blackburn. Wilson was fantastic this spring as his kept hitters off balance with his off speed stuff and challenged them with his fastball. Wilson's dominance this past spring should carry over into the regular season, look for him to pitch well and pick up the win against an average Twins' offense.

Fearless Series Predictions:
The Halos will sweep the Twins this week.

Jordan Walden will secure 2 saves and will do it effortlessly.

Alexi Amarista will be a key factor in this series. Look for a game changing pinch-running role in at least one of the game as well as a key defensive play in later innings.

Game Times / Channels:
4/9 - Angels vs Twins - 4:10 p.m. / FSW, MLBN
4/10 - Off
4/11 - Angels vs Twins - 5:10 p.m. / FSW
4/12 - Angels vs Twins - 10:10 a.m. / FSW

Pitching Match-ups:
4/9 - C.J. Wilson vs Nick Blackburn
4/10 - Off
4/11 - Jered Weaver vs Carl Pavano
4/12 - Dan Haren vs Francisco Liriano

4/9 - Sunny - High of 49 degrees
4/10 -Sunny - High of 48 degrees
4/11 - Sunny - High of 56 degrees
4/12 - Partly Cloudy - High of 57 degrees.

Interesting Notes:

During the previous series preview I wrote for the Dodgers I named some notable players that wore the uniform of both teams. I found it kind of interesting so I decided to do it for all upcoming series previews. Here are a few notable individuals that were associated with both the Angels and Twins during their careers...Mangers Bill Rigney and Gene Mauch were skippers for both the Angels and Twins. All-time great Rod Carew played for both the Angels and Twins as did Dean Chance, Bert Blyleven and everybody's favorite erratic pitcher Ramon Ortiz.

Target field opened in April 2010 and seats approximately 39,500 people. The main scoreboard is 57 feet tall and 101 feet wide, it is the 4th largest in the MLB.

The turf at Target field is heated to approximately 40 degrees in the winter to keep it from freezing.

There are 401 women’s and 266 men’s restroom fixtures at Target Field. In comparison, the Metrodome has 256 women’s and 192 men’s fixtures.

Statues of Twins greats were placed around Target Field in 2010. These statues are; Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett, and former owner Calvin Griffith. A statue of Tony Oliva was unveiled at the start of the 2011 season.

There are five retired Twins player numbers on display at Target Field; Harmon Killebrew (No. 3 in 1975), Rod Carew (No. 29, 1987), Tony Oliva (No. 6, 1991), Kent Hrbek (No. 14, 1995) and Kirby Puckett (No. 34, 1997). A sixth will be added in 2011 (Bert Blyleven (No. 28). Jackie Robinson’s number (No. 42, 1997) is also on display although he never played for the Twins. His number has been retired for all MLB teams.
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