Twins: Opening Day hits and misses


Opening Day has come and gone for 2013. It was capital-C Cold, with a cruel 4-2 loss to the American League Champion Detroit Tigers.

But it wasn't all bad.

With that in mind, here are some hits and misses from the ballpark from April 1, 2013:

HIT: Vance Worley's start. Despite a rocky start, he held Detroit to three runs in six innings of work on a brutal day. The Vanimal lost, but as the Star Tribune's Jim Souhan pointed out, he pitched in shirtsleeves while most everyone else at Target Field wore parkas.

MISS: Mom Nature. You brought your A-game: 34 degrees on April 1. But you know what? You still couldn't get the job done. This wasn't the coldest opener in Twins history (1962 still holds the record), and not to mock you, oh great Mother, but was kind of pleasant in the sun -- even in the center field cheap seats.

HIT: Joe Mauer hitting second. A bold move by Ron Gardenhire, who could have spun a tale that Brian Dozier would grow into the role in April. Instead, it's Mauer's spot for now. Monday, Mauer was stellar as usual, going 2-for-4 with a double and he reached on an error. Even better, his honesty, telling the Pioneer Press that he still gets "a little nervous before every Opening Day."

MISS: Clutch hitting. With the Twins pitching staff doing an OK job, the hitters needed to step up and take this game. In the seventh, trailing 3-2, Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee struck out with the bases loaded to Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque. Gardenhire: "We just didn't finish off the inning." For the day, Plouffe, Parmelee and Josh Willinghame left a combined 12 runners on base.

HIT: Target Field was ready for the cold. Heat lamps were blazing, and coffee and hot chocolate stands didn't disappoint. Well stocked, with the necessary fuel. Our only complaint: the $8 cup of hot chocolate in the souvenir cup. Ouch!

MISS: Aaron Hicks struck out in his first three at-bats and finished 0-for-4 on the day. Sure, he had to face Justin Verlander, but the rookie has high expectations. Like Mauer, however, he was completely honest, telling the Star Tribune: "I was a little nervous out there." More important? "Got to get ready for the second game."

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