[picappgallerysingle id="9441798"]In a current Star Tribune poll, Minnesota Twins fans voted an overwhelmingly that the most disappointing thing about this year’s ALDS between the Twins and the New York Yankees is Joe Mauer’s hitting – or lack thereof. An astounding 69% of those who voted (and something like 26,000 folks have voted so far) chose Mauer’s lackluster at bats over Jesse Crain’s relief, starting pitching, or Ron Gardenhire’s decisions. Mauer’s not getting the love this postseason.
Nor should he. Our eight-year, bazillion-dollar guy is hitting around .200 this postseason (which is still better than Jason Kubel at a horrendous .080 batting average).
Now, how can that be? How come Joe Mauer isn’t coming up with hits like Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson are? Mauer has a better regular season batting average than anyone on the Yankees team, so why can’t he produce a worthwhile hit now?
I’ve made excuses for Mauer this year. Not in the second half of the season – he didn’t need them then. But Mauer’s lackadaisical first half of the season, I felt, could be attributed to a big contract hangover. I think that 168-million-dollar thing stayed with Mauer like a bottle of bad booze stays with you the day after you wish you hadn’t consumed it.
But now, Mauer’s got no excuse. The contract hangover has worn off, he’s been playing well for the Twins, and there isn’t any reason why Mauer shouldn’t be stepping up and getting those big hits. That’s what your top guys are supposed to do.
Instead, Mauer looks thoroughly uncomfortable out there at the plate. And unfortunately, looking uncomfortable is about all Mauer is doing at the plate.
So, Joe Mauer, we Twins fans need you to step up on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium. Instead of hitting a two-out single in the eighth inning with nobody on base, try a single with a runner in scoring position. It can still be in the eighth, if you want, and it can still be a single. But the Twins need to start hitting with runners in scoring position, or we’re finished.
It’s not too late. But after Saturday, it will be. Saturday’s your day, Joe Mauer. So please start hitting.