by, 04-28-2012 at 10:56 AM (605 Views)
Joe Mauer must have read my post yesterday. There can be no other explanation. He hit a triple in the first inning, driving in Span and then scoring on Morneau's single. If you reconstruct the inning with Mauer hitting a single or drawing a walk instead, and overlook that every change could result in a different approach by the opponents thereafter, this was worth an extra run.
He followed up with a none-out double in the third. This resulted in no scoring as the next three batters made outs.
In my post, I had said that (compared to his 2008 season) Mauer was a couple of doubles/triples short, otherwise his 2012 so far lines up. Friday's game basically rectified that. Yay Joe.
In the fifth, he struck out swinging. In the seventh he was hit by a pitch - a topic I did not discuss yesterday and something Joe apparently came up with on his own. (He did not score.) Finally, in the ninth he struck out swinging again, setting the stage for Morneau to do likewise to end the game at a 7-6 deficit.
I won't re-do the extrapolations, but this game brings him really close to his 2008 season, in both OBP and SLG. No one could quarrel with a full season like that. And yet, as I said yesterday, I hope he continues the trend of raising his slugging average even further, even if it comes at the expense of his on-base average, because of the needs of this team. Of course, a game like yesterday's raised both; good on you, Joe.
On the surface even the two strikeouts were OK, if he was trying to power the ball, although in the ninth just getting on base would have been a good goal too. However: on both strikeouts his first two strikes were looking, fine-able offenses in my Kangaroo Court. Wait: even on his triple and double, he took two strikes each time. Hold on: ditto for his HBP (a fine on the pitcher for hitting a guy on 0-2, too). All part of his cunning plan to lull the pitcher into complacency, each and every at-bat? Only once in five trips were the first two pitches not in the strike zone (ball one, in the ninth). Well, this is a topic already covered by others and I'll leave it alone. But it's absolutely amazing.
Actually, an extrapolation I failed to do yesterday was his strikeout rate. It's up this year compared to 2012, even before Friday's game. Not sure why I didn't think to look at that the first time. If he's only table-setting, up until yesterday, an increase in strikeout rate serves little purpose. His GIDP rate is also higher than in 2008, and that's just plain counter-productive.
Anyway, yesterday Mauer Power contributed an extra run by my reckoning, versus what Joe Table-Setter would have accomplished. Losing 7-6 versus 7-5 is no great shakes, and we know the main problem with the team is the pitching; still, I'm glad Joe Mauer reads my blog and finds it helpful.