Even at this stage of the season it's a great feeling to sweep a division rival in their house. Baseball is a strange game in that you can look like a championship team one day, and look like the Detroit Lion the next...and when you're talking about the Twins, that's a very apt comparison. For one day in Boston last week they looked like the most beatable team in all the land. The last two days? A well oiled machine.
For the 6-12 Indians this afternoon, 24-year old Aaron Laffey gets the nod. This is his third year with Cleveland, and has thus far put together a career that profiles him as a hittable, soft-tossing southpaw who induces more than his share of ground balls. Already this April he's put together a pair of not unacceptable starts, allowing just three runs in 12.1 innings; but he's allowed 16 base runners, including his six walks. In his time with the Indians he's thrown a first-pitch strike just 54.4% of the time, so hopefully the Twins stay patient. Laffey will get a lot of ground balls, which will help him out, but if the lineup can stay patient there isn't any reason they can't chase him early.
Minnesota counters with Ace of the Month Glen Perkins. Perk has been outstanding in his first three outings this spring, going eight strong in each. Across the board his numbers are better than they were in 2008: line drive percentage is low, at 15.3%; his fly-ball ratio is up, but none of them have left the yard (knock on wood); his walk rates are down. On this staff going into the season, Perkins was almost generally seen as the guy who's stuff wasn't as impressive, but he's been proving those critics (including me) wrong so far.
04/26/09 1:05 PM EDT
|Minnesota Twins||Cleveland Indians|
|Carlos Gomez - CF||Grady Sizemore - CF|
|Brendan Harris - 2B||Asdrubal Cabrera - 2B|
|Justin Morneau - 1B||Victor Martinez - C|
|Jason Kubel - DH||Shin-Soo Choo - DH|
|Joe Crede - 3B||Ryan Garko - 1B|
|Michael Cuddyer - RF||Jhonny Peralta - SS|
|Delmon Young - LF||Mark DeRosa - RF|
|Jose Morales - C||Tony Graffanino - 3B|
|Nick Punto - SS||Trevor Crowe - LF|
Aaron "I'm So Sleepy" Laffey
#32 / Pitcher / Cleveland Indians
Apr 15, 1985
|2009 - Aaron Laffey||1-0||2||2||0||0||0||0||12.1||10||3||3||0||6||8||2.19||1.30|
Glen "Tell Me When You're Gonna Take the Picture" Perkins
#15 / Pitcher / Minnesota Twins
Mar 02, 1983
|2009 - Glen Perkins||1-1||3||3||0||0||0||0||24.0||16||4||4||0||4||12||1.50||.83|