Twins Sweep Orioles, Look Towards Weekend

Cuddyer had to leave the game due to lacerations.

The Minnesota Twins had a very successful opening series against the Baltimore Orioles this week, sweeping the O's while getting some great starting pitching. The only down part of the weekend was losing Michael Cuddyer to a laceration, though he isn't slated to miss any time.

Ramon Ortiz has a bad reputation for getting off to good starts before blowing up in the middle innings. That never happened on Wednesday as the Twins beat Baltimore 7-2. Ortiz looked like a cagey veteran, hitting the corners and working fast. Ortiz made a point to establish his fastball before trying other pitches and it helped.

Twins catchers were warned early in spring training to go out and calm Ortiz down if things got bad. Ortiz rarely looked as if he were in trouble on Wednesday, as he kept most of his pitches low in the strike zone.

The Twins only needed a few good innings from him. With the bullpen expected to get plenty of rest over the next two games, the Twins expect to be at full strength this weekend.

Ortiz expects to give the Twins at least 30 solid starts this season.

Last Game: TWINS 7, ORIOLES 2: The Twins got solid pitching from RHP Ramon Ortiz on Wednesday as they swept the Orioles in a three game series. The Twins scored five runs in the third to blow the game open and give Ortiz some room to relax. Michael Cuddyer had three hits to lead the surge. Matt Guerrier, in his first appearance of the season, replaced Ortiz with two scoreless innings of relief. The Twins will get a day off before heading to Chicago to play the White Sox in a weekend series.

NOTES, QUOTES:OF Michael Cuddyer suffered a lacerated chin on Wednesday while trying to chase down a ball in the outfield, but he is not expected to miss any games. Cuddyer has been a very durable player in his young career and usually shakes off injuries. He's expected to shake off Wednesday's injury and be in the lineup on Friday against the White Sox. It's a big rivalry, and Cuddyer doesn't want to miss it.

  • RHP Ramon Ortiz has a history of giving up big innings, but that did not happen on Wednesday against the Orioles. Ortiz mixed his pitches well and had excellent movement on his fastball, so no one was able to make good contact off him. There's a chance that Ortiz could have a big season because he feels so comfortable with his new team.

  • 2B Luis Castillo is batting .500 through three games and is a player that should be watched. Castillo is a free agent after the season and needs a big year to earn a good contract. He will have plenty of chances to show off his skills since the Twins will be on national television a lot to showcase his talents.

  • C Joe Mauer entered the season determined to hit the inside pitch better and showed off that skill on Wednesday as he went 2-for-4. Mauer feels teams pitched him inside a lot last season, so he worked on recognizing the pitch sooner and getting the bat head on it. Mauer is expected to hit for a high average even if he struggles against the inside pitch.

  • OF Jason Tyner replaced an injured Michael Cuddyer on Wednesday, but Cuddyer is not expected to miss much time. Tyner is a good extra outfielder and can steal a base, too. But he doesn't steal or hit enough to break into the starting lineup.
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