Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has finally seen the light and realized that having his best player, his most highly paid player, sit on the bench (even when he’s healthy, just to rest him) is not the way to go. So when the Twins return home after their series with the Milwaukee Brewers, Joe Mauer will put on a first basemen’s glove and get some work at first base.
With DH not an option in the Twins’ final Interleague road game of the season, Mauer was out of the lineup Sunday afternoon for the day game after Saturday’s night game. I’ve been saying this for quite some time now and I don’t know how else to put it except that having one of the best hitters in baseball play defense at the catcher position is baseball suicide for a franchise.
Here’s what I wrote in May when Buster Posey was hurt in a plate collision.
“I’ve said it a million times, you just can’t have your best hitter as a catcher. You are just asking for trouble. I can’t imagine why anyone would let their best hitter play a position where people throw hard projectiles at them at nearly 100 mph. In some uncivilized countries, they do still do this primitive practice with humans that don’t have a glove and catchers gear. They call it stoning! On top of that, the position has a high risk of grown men barreling into them while they are in a compromising position, attempting to catch a ball, with the benefit of a 90’ head start building up steam.”
Here’s the thing, even if your catcher is not getting hurt, he still has to be rested and doesn’t have the opportunity to be in the lineup as often as the other position players. Injury risk aside, why would you take your best hitter and eliminate 20 games / 100 ABs from his season off the bat?
Mauer isn’t going to be the new full time first basemen for the Twins, during the second half of the year but he can now spend some time there instead of on the bench when he needs a blow. You can expect Mauer to in fact be the full time first basemen in Minnesota sooner than you may have thought however as Justin Mourneau just can’t seem to get on the field regularly and is just a shell of the player he once was prior to his concussion even when he plays.
Adam Dunn’s Epic Woes Continue
After yesterday’s four strikeout game, Adam Dunn has now struck out and American League leading 100 strikeouts in just 67 games. The fact that Dunn has so many K’s wouldn’t be such a bad thing if he was on pace for one his typical 40 HR, 100 RBI years, but Dunn is hitting just .173 on the year and .126 (14-for-111) at home.
While no one thought Dunn was going to hit .300, after drilling 76 home runs the past two seasons in Washington Nationals uniform the Chicago White Sox signed Dunn to a four-year, $56 million contract this past offseason and this is certainly not what they bargained for. Forget the average, at the moment Dunn is only on pace for a season with 14 HRs and 59 RBI. WOW.
Here’s a stat for you. Dunn’s eighth-inning strikeout against southpaw Sean Burnett left Dunn 1-for-53 against lefties on the year. One Hit! One!
Roy Halladay Not to Be Outdone
Not to be upstaged by teammates Cliff Lee, or Cole Hamels (or anyone else for that matter), Roy Halladay threw his National League-leading fifth complete game in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 3-1 victory against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon. Halladay allowed one run on eight hits, with four strikeouts and no walks while throwing 113 pitches. In three of the innings Doc breezed through in 10 or fewer pitches.
I can’t remember a time since I was a kid early 70’s that there were so many complete games it MLB. It’s refreshing to see. Take a look around the two leagues at the number of complete games. James Shields, TB – 6, Roy Hallday, PHI – 5, Justin Verlander, DET – 4, Jared Weaver, ANA, Clayton Kershaw, LA, Cliff Lee, PHI, Ricky Romero, TOR – all have three; And there are11 pitchers with two complete games.
It will be interesting to see if this represents the start of a long lasting new trend or just a one year anomaly.
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