Ignoring the almost comeback the Twins had last night, I want to focus on the guy who probably helped the Twins lose: Torii Hunter. I want to touch on how awful Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse were, but thats not really news. Hunter, as expected, has slumped awfully after being hot for a few weeks. The thing is, after a long time of watching it, it's getting on my nerves. For the $10.75 million he's being paid this year, you'd think he could be a little more consistent with the bat.
Yes, he is drawing a few more walks, which is cute. But when your hitting .257/.327/.420, your just a little overpaid. After a May in which he hit .336/.402/.505, Torii is hitting an atrocious .192/.313/.269. As I said, the walks are fine, but he doesn't walk enough to really make up for that, especially in the cleanup spot. The jumps aren't really news, but he has never really jumped that much. From 2003-2005, he hit .241, .253, .291, .258, .261, .282 in the months of April through September, respectively. The worse part is how much this inconsistently hurts. Despite his initial success jumping into the cleanup spot, his numbers with runners in scoring position aren't pretty. They are .247/.301/.384 and an even worse .200/.273/.433 with two outs.
The thing is, after watching Michael Cuddyer, and yes I know this sounds a little absurd, I don't see why he can't handle the cleanup spot just fine. After last night's grand slam, he has two in the last week. Cuddyer, though he went through a little slump recently, has been a lot more steady then Hunter. He is hitting .273/.467/.636 in his last seven games and .212/.381/.455 in June after a .312/.383/.581 May. Those numbers look a little low, but there is nothing wrong with a .835 OPS or 2 home runs and 9 RBI so far since he has heated back up over the past week. I just wonder if maybe Cuddyer could not only have more success than Hunter, but be the long term solution.
As for the pitching, there are no suprises here. Carlos Silva continued to be just awful. Six innings, ten hits, five earned runs, one walk, two Ks. I don't see why this guy is getting the rotation spot over a guy like Scott Baker, sitting in Triple-A right now, who has a lot more potential and did significantly better in the rotation than Silva, even with a 6 plus ERA. Lohse, on the other hand, helped loss the game, as he put it out of reach with two and two-thirds innings of relief, in which he gave up four earned runs after allowing five straight baserunners to reach to start his appearance. So, despite the Twins seven-run near comeback, the terrible pitching got in the way. Its just another reason calling up Lohse doesn't make any sense. And that 9.22 ERA makes me sick.
On a more positive note, Joe Mauer did go 2 for 3 with two walks and two runs scored, setting a major leauge record by reaching base four times in five consecutive games. He's now hitting .388/.451/.544. Simply amazing.