Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mauer's bat continues to heat up

The Twins suffered through most of the first half of the season without their $23 million man. The offensive woes of the team were punctuated by the absence of the team's biggest superstar. Joe Mauer has now returned to the middle of the line-up for the Twins and he has provided an offensive spark for a team struggling at the plate.

Since the All-Star break, Mauer has been on a tear for the Twins with four multi-hit games during that stretch. In his 24 AB since the break, Mauer has 12 hits for a .500 BA in seven games played. This has come in one of the most important stretches of games for the Twins in 2011.

The month of July has been a month that has seen Mr. Mauer flourish when the team entered AL Central play. At the beginning of the month, Mauer was sitting at a .241 BA with a .573 OPS. The low point in the month came after a series against the Rays in which Mauer went a combined 0-8. After this series with the Rays, Mauer's BA was .223 and he had a .548 OPS for the 2011 season. Mauer has increased those numbers to a .291 BA and a .700 OPS since the team started playing other AL Central teams.

With Mauer swinging a hot stick, there is more urgency for the batters ahead of Mauer to get on base. Ben Revere and Alexi Casilla can light up the base path if they get on ahead of Mauer. During the Cleveland series, the problem has been that these two players have failed to get on base. Revere and Casilla have combined to get one hit in 25 AB; while during those same games, Mauer has gotten seven hits in 11 AB.

For the Twins offense to be successful, the other players around Mauer are also going to need to find their stroke. The starting pitching of the Twins has kept the team in games but without scoring any runs it is going to be a challenge to win. Mauer is back in top form and the other hitters need to follow suit.

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