Found April 09, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
In the marathon that is a 162-game baseball season, a three-game losing streak is barely reason to panic. But after Minnesota was swept in their three-game season-opening series against the Baltimore Orioles, Twins fans seem to believe that not much has changed from last year's 99-loss season. Indeed, it was a rough opening series for the Twins, who scored just five runs in their first three games while allowing 15. There were a few highlights, however: Justin Morneau has recorded a hit in all three games after missing plenty of time the past two seasons with a concussion, and new shortstop Jamey Carroll turned in a number of nice plays on defense. But the reality is that Minnesota is still without a win. Then again, so are the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. But who's counting? The Twins will look to get in the win column Monday, when they welcome the Los Angeles Angels to Target Field. Perhaps no team made more noise in free agency this offseason than the Angels, who inked slugger Albert Pujols to a 240 million contract and also signed pitcher C.J. Wilson to bolster their rotation. Pujols was a three-time National League MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals. He's hit 30 or more home runs in each of his 11 seasons in the majors. His 99 RBIs last season was the first time in his career that Pujols did not drive in 100 runs. Now, Twins fans will get an up-close view of the Angels slugger, who has hit 445 career home runs by age 32. Wilson earned his first All-Star bid last season and finished sixth in the American League Cy Young voting. He won a career-high 16 games and posted a 2.94 ERA, the second time in three years Wilson had a sub-3.00 ERA. His 34 starts in 2011 led the league. Despite their new additions, the Angels lost two of three games to the Kansas City Royals to open the season. Pujols is 3-for-10 with an RBI in his first three games with Los Angeles. Wilson will make his Angels debut Monday when he takes to the hill to oppose Minnesota's Nick Blackburn. Wilson made three career starts at Target Field while pitching for the Texas Rangers and was 1-2 with a 6.87 ERA. Pujols has not yet played a regular-season game at Target Field but took part in two exhibition games in 2010 when the Cardinals and Twins played before the regular season. When Minnesota opens its 2012 home schedule Monday, there will be several new faces making their Target Field debuts, including catcher Ryan Doumit, who has yet to play at the downtown Minneapolis ballpark. Before signing with the Twins this offseason, Doumit spent his entire big league career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Starting pitcher Jason Marquis has also not pitched at Target Field, as he spent the last two seasons with Washington and Arizona in the National League. Marquis is not currently with the Twins, however, as he continues to build up his arm strength in the minor leagues after missing time this spring to tend to his injured daughter. Two of the Twins' other new additions, Jamey Carroll and Josh Willingham, have only made cameos at Target Field. Carroll played a few games there last season when the Los Angeles Dodgers came to town. Playing with Oakland in 2011, Willingham homered in an April 10 meeting between the A's and Twins at Target Field. But like Carroll, Willingham has played sparingly at Target Field. All of Minnesota's newcomers will have to adjust to how the park plays. After having one of the best home records in Target Field's inaugural season in 2010, the Twins were just 33-48 at home in 2011. Minnesota will begin Year 3 of the park's history on Monday. Will Target Field be kinder to the Twins in 2012? Only time will tell, but we'll get our first look Monday afternoon. Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
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