As one fan put it, "Opening Day! We're going to win 162 games this year!" That fan was mocking themselves, unfortunately the media isn't.
If you read the local media, including the blogsphere, you would think that the Twins had never lost two games before or looked bad doing it. But its funny how bad looking games often turn into losses and vice versa. What have we learned from the first two games of the season? Nothing. And its simply silly to pretend we have.
Of course, some people may have had unrealistic expectations based on spring training. Those are the folks who are alarmed at Francisco Liriano's performance yesterday. They imagined Liriano as a dominant ace and Cy Young candidate. What we saw yesterday was, instead, a typical Liriano. We also have seen the Twins suspect defense at work. Valencia may be a better fielder, but he isn't a gold glove candidate. He is going to miss balls. Same with Willingham out in left field. They didn't sign him for his defense. We haven't yet seen the offense at the level we expected or will need to compete. But we have watched only two games against two pitchers.
We have also seen a typical Gardy move. He started Revere in right field after he put Doumit there for the opener and got burned. Doumit turned a fly ball into a triple. If that ball was caught, the game would likely have been at worst tied. If you were keeping track of games lost by weak defense, the opener was a good start. Despite the defensive misplays yesterday, that game wouldn't be on the list. The defense was worse, but it didn't explain the loss. Instead, Liriano had a signature game.
Fortunately, this is baseball. Liriano will have good days where he looks like "Franchise". He always does. And the Twins will have good days. Every baseball team does. We need to watch a lot more games to have any better idea of the balance between the two than we had three days ago.
There are still 160 games to play. Lets try not to turn each of them into a new defining event for what kind of team the Twins have this year. Oh, wait. Expecting that from the media is the same as expecting Liriano to be consistent. Its wishful thinking.
The roller coaster is the most popular ride in most amusement parks and sports writers are, after all, in the entertainment business. They get paid to attract an audience.
Hang on to your hats! Because if Swarzak pitches well today, there will be calls for him to replace Liriano in the rotation tomorrow. That ought to get someone a few more page hits.